Challenges of Distance Learning at Universities during the COVID-19 Pandemic in Georgia


  • Tengiz Verulava School of Medicine and Healthcare Management, Caucasus University
  • Kakha Shengelia Caucasus University
  • Giorgi Makharashvili Medicine and Healthcare Management School, Caucasus University



distance education, distance learning, online education, educational technologies, students’ perception


Adaptation to distance learning, which is one of the most effective ways of fighting against the COVID-19 pandemic, presented numerous challenges to society and the economy. The study aims to assess the consequences of distance learning as a result of the pandemic from the perspective of students and teachers. Quantitative research was conducted. The students (n = 417) and teachers (n = 47) of all disciplines from Tbilisi universities (Republic of Georgia) participated in the research. Non-probability convenience sampling technique was used for the study. Respondents evaluated the process of distance learning positively since they had the opportunity to attend lectures from any location, thus, saving costs, learning new skills, gaining valuable experience, and having more free time left than before. Using a Likert scale, the distance learning process was positively assessed by students (3.2 points out of 5) and teachers (3 points out of 5). The majority of students (n = 288, 69%) preferred the synthesis of distance and auditory learning methods as they consider the student’s own choices in a superior way. Respondents pointed out some deficiencies, such as limited communication, technical access difficulties, low quality and malfunction of internet access, an inconvenient environment, students’ involvement process and complicated social relationships. The crisis caused by the COVID-19 epidemic has identified the need to advance the methods of high-quality acquisition of knowledge. It is preferable to equip university auditoriums with the necessary technical capabilities and to develop curricula that allow students to decide whether to attend lectures in the classroom or to participate online.

Author Biographies

Tengiz Verulava, School of Medicine and Healthcare Management, Caucasus University

Tengiz Verulava is a professor at Caucasus University and director of the Health Policy and Insurance Institute. He holds a PhD in Medical Sciences. He has over 25 years of experience on European Union and National (Georgia) funded projects. His research portfolio includes 16 books and over 300 journal papers in international peer-reviewed scientific journals. He is a Chief Editor of the scientific journal Health Policy, Economics, and Sociology. Dr. Verulava was awarded the Order of Best Scientist by the Shota Rustaveli National Science Foundation (2018) and for the best scientific paper by the Association of Security Researchers Science for Sustainable Development and Security (2021). Dr. Verulava is an Honorary Research Fellow of School of Psychology and Public Health at La Trobe University (Melbourne, Australia) and is active in organising annual scientific conferences on Health Policy, Economics, and Sociology. His research interests are focused on Public Health, Health Economics, Health Sociology, Global Health, Managed Care, Primary Health Care, Insurance, and Universal Health Care. Email:

Kakha Shengelia, Caucasus University

Kakha Shengelia is a president of Caucasus University. He holds an MA from Tbilisi State University; an MBA degree in Management from the University of Hartford (Hartford, USA) and a PhD from Georgian Technical University (Georgia). Dr. Shengelia was a Member of Parliament of Georgia, Deputy Chairman of Committee of Education, Science, Sport and Culture and Committee of Foreign Affairs. He was a Vice-Mayor of Tbilisi in Social Affairs and is a President-elect of the IAUP (International Association of University Presidents). Dr. Shengelia was awarded the Presidential Order of Excellence by the President of Georgia and the Ring of Honor by the University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria. Dr. Shengelia is an Honorable Doctor of Tallinn University of Technology and a member of the Steering Committee of NISPAcee (The Network of Institutes and Schools of Public Administration in Central and Eastern Europe). Dr. Shengelia was conferred the title of Honorary Doctor of Universidad Autónoma de Guadalajara. Email:

Giorgi Makharashvili, Medicine and Healthcare Management School, Caucasus University

Giorgi Makharashvili is a professor at Caucasus University and a Dean of the School Medicine and Healthcare Management. He holds an MD degree from Tbilisi State University. Email:




How to Cite

Verulava, T., Shengelia, K., & Makharashvili, G. (2023). Challenges of Distance Learning at Universities during the COVID-19 Pandemic in Georgia. Journal of Learning for Development, 10(1), 75–90.



Research Articles
Received 2022-07-04
Accepted 2023-01-27
Published 2023-03-20