By Salome Modebadze
Friday, July 2
The United National Exams began on July 1. The 36,421 registered candidates will display their knowledge at 15 examination centres in Sighnaghi, Telavi, Rustavi, Tbilisi, Gori, Akhaltsikhe, Kutaisi, Ozurgeti, Poti, Zugdidi, Batumi and Khulo. But unfortunately only 30,000 of them will be able to become university students.
The three subjects common to all candidates – general skills, Georgian language and literature and foreign languages, will be supplemented by a fourth subject chosen by individual universities, meaning that candidates must choose literature, mathematics, history, geography, chemistry, physics or biology according to their study intentions. 9,000 students will receive either full or partial state grants based on the results of the exams, calculated on the basis of performance in all four. The full grant coincides with state university fees and is still GEL 2,500, while partial grants cover 70%, 50% and 30% of the fees.
The first 4-hour session of the national exams was on Georgian language and literature. Registration in the three main universities of the capital, the State, Technical and Agricultural Universities, began at 8 a.m. The tests were carefully delivered from the National Bank of Georgia and the Liberty Bank so that the candidates could have an hour for preparation. 335 candidates didn’t attend the relevant exam centres and some others were late and not allowed to sit the exams. Prisoners who had registered as candidates were escorted to the examination centres.
Dimitri Shashkin, Minister of Education and Science of Georgia, accompanied two blind candidates to their examination centre in the capital. They are taking their exams in Braille. Tatia Nakashidze, who wants to become a psychologist, thanked the Minister for his support and hoped everything would be alright. “It’s become evident to everyone that exam candidates in Georgia are assessed on the basis of their talent, not physical ability, so that each has an opportunity to build their future. This year the results will be calculated on the basis of performance across four exams as this will be fairer and a better indicator of the knowledge level of the participants,” Shashkin stated.
The first candidates were calm after the exam, saying they expected they would be more difficult. “The exams were not difficult as I was lucky to be given the areas I am good at to write about,” said Mari Chelidze. Tornike Nadiradze added that despite the fact that he hadn’t been coached for the exams he still found them quite easy.
“Unfortunately several candidates were late for the exam sessions in Tbilisi and became disconnected from this process. One boy was arrested the day before the exams, thus the Minisrty of Corrections and Legal Assistance had no time in which to register him, but we will ask it to register him for further exams,” Maia Miminoshvili, Director of the National Examinations Centre (NAEC) said at an information briefing at its media centre. She stressed that the process was much more refined than in previous years.
The second session of the exams started at 3 p.m. “If all the other exams are conducted in such a calm atmosphere as those on the first day I’ll be very happy,” Miminoshvili told The Messenger.
The examination centres, which are controlled by 1,300 invigilators, security staff and patrol police, have been provided with a full range of first aid items and there are also ambulances near the centres ready to assist. The process is monitored by video camera for further security.