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President addresses future of Georgian education

By Salome Modebadze
Wednesday, September 19
Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili congratulated the country on the new academic year and promised that Georgia will become the place for receiving a world class level education. Praising the talent of the Georgian people, the president said that despite the successful educational reforms, there are still a lot of things to be done and improved in this sphere.

“I think we are moving in the right direction and will not look back,” he said, explaining that the gaps are natural in every system. Expressing his love to the teachers, Saakashvili promised them that the state will always support them. “Do not be afraid of anyone’s threat and criticism,” he said to the teachers, referring to the Georgian Dream coalition leader Bidzina Ivanishvili.

Recently, Ivanishvili said at Shalva Ramishvili’s morning program on Maestro TV that if his team wins the parliamentary elections no one will be chased on political ground but violators of the law will be punished. Ivanishvili said those civil servants participating in the “falsification mechanism” will be responsible in the fair court.

According to Ivanishvili teachers often coordinate the ruling United National Movement’s (UNM) activities for GEL 300 so that at some stage they may lose their freedom because Ivanishvili said to “steal” the people’s future is the greatest crime. Encouraging public servants not to act against the law, Ivanishvili stressed that they will not touch professionals and the absolute majority will keep their jobs.

“What we should do first is to offer relevant conditions to teachers and professors,” Saakashvili said in his speech, adding that Georgian teachers should improve their qualification abroad and share the experience of their foreign colleagues.

Encouraging the teachers not to be afraid of the certification exams, Saakashvili promised that they will get GEL 600 instead of 350 and added that the certified teachers will receive 1,000 GEL. “Together we will manage to create the education system,” Saakashvili said, stressing that his team is oriented toward social equality, a safe environment and a qualitative education.

The president said the youth of Georgia should receive competitive education in Georgia “a small country with big prospects” so that the diplomas and certificates they receive after graduation will allow them to find relevant jobs.

Saakashvili said the introduction of the 8+1 system for high school graduates would be their chance to enter universities without spending money on private tutors so that no student would remain “out of the game.” He also emphasized that the youth would have an opportunity to take exams every month and also receive state grants at any level.

“We should be open for the world, constantly receive information and try to be innovators in every field,” Saakashvili said, but stressed the importance of technical and technological fields for the country.

He said the new Technological University in Batumi will be a pioneer in the post-Soviet space, issuing American diplomas so that graduates will have the opportunity to work anywhere worldwide. The more educated the person, the more he/she will do to promote his/her country, said the president, confident that these people would return to their homeland.

The new 2012-2013 academic year started in the country this Monday. 11 new schools were built and 527 have been rehabilitated. According to the Georgian Ministry of Education and Science, improvement of school infrastructure and modern standards are among the top priority. The goal of the ministry is to give sufficient knowledge to every student wherever they study.