The compulsory schooling applies from the age of six. The
school is 11 years old, of which 9 years are compulsory.
Admission to universities and other higher education
requires 11-year school or 9-year compulsory school combined
with secondary education. Georgian is the dominant language
of instruction with the exception of Abkhazia and South
Ossetia (82% of Georgia schools had the 1996/97 academic
year as Georgian language); In addition, there are schools
with teaching on e.g. Armenian, Azerbaijani and Russian.
New elements in the education system after the Soviet
period are private schools and colleges, as well as the
existence of fee-based education.
Higher education was already established in the
1000s-1100s in Georgia with the academies of Iqalto and
Gelati. The first modern university, Dzjavachisvili
University, was founded in Tbilisi in 1918. Colleges are now
(1998) also in Suchumi, Kutaisi, Zugdidi, Batumi, Telavi,
Gori and Achaltsiche.