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Students are going to spend vacation on Rustaveli avenue06.07.2009 | 15:19
The Georgian students are going to join the opposition's protest actions. As the Conservative party informed GeorgiaTimes, the young people are dissatisfied with the higher education system in Georgia in general and the intimidation of students in particular. They are also ready to demand the decrease of the tuition cost which is going to rise sharply next academic year.
The end-of-year exams in Tbilisi are over and the students are making plans for their summer vacation. Someone is going to the seaside, while others will spend it in the squares, together with the fighters for the president's resignation. According to the Conservatives representative Bidzina Gujabidze, those students that are currently having problems have applied to the youth branch of the party. "They are being terrorized, that is why they are going to join the opposition's actions", - Interpressnews reported, referring to the politician.
GeorgiaTimes asked Bidzina Gujabidze about the reasons of the students' protest and inquired in what way they are terrorized. According to him, the tutors do not allow them to attend the oppositional protest actions under the threat of getting troubles with their tutorship. These students are from five universities of the capital and they do not belong to any party. The lovers of liberty are indignant at the fact that their independence is being restricted.
However, this is not the point. According to Gujabidze, the students are dissatisfied with the changes that were made in the Georgian higher education system in the days of Mikhail Saakashvili. In particular, there is currently no special committee that would regulate the relationship between the students and the teaching stuff.
Some time ago, Georgia carried out drastic reforms in the educational system, having copied the European ways and methods. Common national exams were introduced, which became simultaneously final and preliminary exams for schoolchildren. If the applicant gains enough score he has the right for free tuition at a state university; in case of failure he can choose between a study-for-fee form of education and a commercial university.
Higher education became two-staged: four years of Bachelor's or Specialist's program followed by Master's program. The rectory institute was transformed. The transformation required the dismissal of all the serving rectors and the establishment of another two positions: a curator supervising the material and financial matters and a rector dealing solely with science and the studies. It was a method of fighting corruption which aroused controversial reaction among the public.
Besides, higher education and school are facing a similar problem: the tutors including assistant professor and Doctors of Science, Economics are working under contracts, being constantly afraid to lose their job because of their bosses' whims. Guided by the European standards, universities changed the educational programs. For the time being, it is difficult to say whether these changes are good or bad; however, economist-professor Vladimir Khomeriki once said in his interview to the Georgian media that "education and science in Georgia have been long and consistently destroyed by Soros Foundation. The process was initiated by Alexander Lomaya who has ruined the Georgian science and the higher school".
According to Gujabidze, the students that have turned to the Conservatives for help may include the decrease of the tuition payment into the list of their demands to the government. It has become known recently that since the beginning of the new academic year the students of private universities will have to pay a much larger sum for their tuition. According to the upper limit set by Ministry of Education, the amount of payment in state universities makes up 2250 lari per year while, for instance, according to the Business Georgia portal, where the educational news are published in business section, tuition in Transcaucasian Business School will cost nine thousand laris,. Such leap in prices is explained in Transcaucasian Business School by the increased demand for the university. The cost of tuition in the ESM Tbilisi Institute of Management will grow from 300 to 7200 laris, while the students undergoing the Bachelor's program in the Georgian-American University will have to pay 7500 thousand laris. The cost of tuition in Transcaucasian University is going to increase from 1000 to 3950 laris, which is attributed to administrative expenses.
Considering the fact that Georgia, like many other countries, is facing the economical crisis and the percentage of unemployed is excessively high in the country one can easily see that the amount of 2-5 thousand laris is a huge sum. Higher education is becoming available only for the elite. "The state grant is insufficient to provide everyone with an opportunity to go to a prestige university", - Chairman of the Teachers and Scientists Union Manana Gurchumelia underlines. According to her, it is one-sided contracts that private universities are signing with the students.