Don’t look a gift netbook in the screen12.09.2011 | 21:47
Netbooks, a generous gesture of Georgian authorities for first-grade students and their parents has turned out a cunning trick: in case of damage, parents will have to pay GEL 700 for the defect. The idea is brilliant since cheap gadgets almost fall to pieces. Manana Nachkebia, one of the leaders of the New Rights party speals about the situation in Georgia's education to GeorgiaTimes.
Does anyone believe that the Georgian government can make a really generous and beautiful gesture? Impossible. Members of current government look more like street swindlers that offer "high-quality goods" absolutely for free. As we know, a passer-by that is "happy" to accept this rubbish will overpay threefold as a minimum.
This is the only analogy one can think of seeing real reasons for generous distribution of netbooks to all first-grade students of Georgia this year. It was the Labor party that unmasked the "benefactors". As it turns out, gifts for children bring about serious problems for their parents.
As Kakhaber Dzagania, ideological secretary of the party said, Mikheil Saakashvili and Dmitry Shashkin keep "enchaining parents and children in anti-educational predatory initiatives". Instead of distributing free textbooks that children desperately need, first-graders were given netbooks assembled in Georgia from Chinese components. Parents of the "lucky" ones were forced to sign a paper that in case of damage they will pay GEL 700 for 4 years thereafter.
Dzagania emphasizes that Chinese-Georgian netbooks are of a very poor quality and are likely to get out of order without much help of naughty children. Their net cost is GEL 100 at best (USD 60). In other words, demanding that parents pay this monstrous penalty, the government hopes to "gain" GEL 600 for every "gift". Let's take a calculating machine: with 60 thousand netbooks offer, the profit will be GEL 36 mln. Not bad: self-publicity plus a chance to get rich!
The Labor Party call on parents to resist tricks of the government and reject "surprise netbooks". They also demand that the government stop their self-advertising activities and fraudulence and just ensure normal free education to children. Most probably, unheard-of generosity of the authorities won't be continued next year. From 2012 "the honorable right" to buy a netbook will be parents' responsibility.
"This is a temporary action organized by the government this year only", - Manana Nachkebia, one of the leaders of the New Rights faction leader told GeorgiaTimes. - We welcome implementation of new technologies in schools. Since the action is provisional, it's nothing more than self-publicity". Certainly, information about non-recurrent gifts is not confirmed, Nachkebia said, but mass media reported that from next year parents will have to buy netbooks on their own. Naturally, it's bad news.
"As for the quality of netbooks - let's wait and see how they will operate. The fact that parents will have to pay for any defects seems illegal to me. Besides, this is a non-recurrent action.
It would be more logical if the government was responsible for any damage and quality of the gadgets, of course", - the oppositionist is sure.
It is extremely expensive to do the pre-school shopping these days. "Depending on a grade and the number of textbooks parents are charged GEL 100-150. This is a very high price for most part of the population, huge money for an ordinary family. Often children go to school without essential things just because their parents can't buy all they need. They might have no textbooks of their own, so they ask their friends to lend them", - Nachkebia said.
The textbook issue is a painful problem in Georgia. Books for 9-12 grades cost approximately USD 10. This is incredibly expensive and the Ministry can't provide availability of these books in school libraries. "Now, at least, the situation with the choice of textbooks is stable", - Nachkebia sighs. - We don't have different books for one and the same subject depending on a teacher's preferences. At least, books can be passed over from elder children to juniors. Nonetheless, the textbook issue is acute: they are inexcusably expensive, and their quality is open to wide criticism. They get spoilt and lose pages very quickly.
On the whole, Nachkebia states, Georgia's education lacks stability. "Decisions of the government change very quickly. The former minister is known for having carried out a successful reform. Now the president confesses: the reform was not efficient, a new one is needed. Well, maybe the new reform has fewer slips, but there are mistakes anyway", - New Rights leader sums up.