President Mikheil Saakashvili has described Georgia as the cultural crossroads of the Caucasus, a place where various ethnicities can easily mix. But a look at attempts at language integration for the country’s minority ethnic Azeri and Armenian populations suggests that sizable obstacles must be overcome if the government is to make Saakashvili’s depiction a reality.
Kyrgyzstan’s schools are rife with bullying and racketeering, with baby-faced toughs enforcing a practice known as dedovshchina, a term borrowed from the Soviet military, in which older children haze younger students into submission.
On a bright winter’s day in Bishkek, a group of children play in the front yard of the Shining Path shelter, a home to orphans and young people from broken backgrounds. “Take the guests to mother,” a nurse instructs Daniyar, 6, who is swinging on the monkey bars.
The academic year is getting underway in Armenia amid efforts by administrators and non-governmental activists to overhaul the way the state’s 24 special-needs schools operate. The reform initiative comes in the aftermath of a sexual abuse scandal at one of the schools in Yerevan.
A school teacher in Armenia who confessed to the repeated sexual abuse of mentally challenged students received to a two-year prison term on May 24. Lawyers for the victims complained that the punishment was too lenient, given the magnitude of the crime.