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Georgian PM Tries to Justify Merger of Ministries

By Tea Mariamidze
Thursday, June 28
Georgia’s Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze says that merging the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Culture and Sports will bring good results to the country.

The PM made the statement while meeting with the locals in Samegrelo region, West Georgia, saying the announced structural changes of the government will benefit the country.

“You know that we are planning to unify the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Culture and Sports. These three directions complete each other. They all need each other to develop,” he stated.

Bakhtadze said that starting from kindergartens to universities and vocational education, the society will not be able to receive education as well as the culture and the important values that the ancestors left them, or establish healthy lifestyle, if these three directions are not unified “under one umbrella”.

According to the Prime Minister, the most important component of education reform is free choice and competition.

“We intend to improve the existing system of funding of students in order to give them more freedom to choose a profession, university or college where they want to continue studying,” he added.

Bakhtadze noted that free choice should result in higher qualified teaching methods at schools and universities.

According to the prime minister, the relevant agencies have been given an order to make an open platform on the internet where relevant jobs will be created for the development of economics and new jobs for graduates.

“The state should promote the development of professions which are in a high demand in the 21st century, especially when our youth is so talented,” he added.

Two days ago, famous Georgian artist Gia Bughadze slammed the PM and the government for the decision to merge the Ministry of Culture and Sports with the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia.

Bughadze is sure the unification will bring bad results.

“This is yet another proof that the current government does not care about education and culture, on the contrary, they prevent it. Educated and cultural people are hindered by this government. How these two essential and precious fields can be merged? It is impossible. Both are independent and should function separately," said Bughadze.

The opposition also believes that the unification is a step backwards.

Georgia’s parliament Speaker Irakli Kobakhidze says the aim of the governmental structural changes is to get a more flexible and effective government system.

“The changes will only bring benefits. Next week we will start consideration of the draft law in order to adopt it,” he added.

In addition to the merging of two ministries, the Ministry of Refugees has been abolished and its functions will be performed by the Ministry of Infrastructure, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Health Ministry.

The Ministry of Corrections has joined the Ministry of Justice. The Religion Agency will join the Office of the State Ministry for Reconciliation and Civic Equality, and the spatial development component of the Ministry of Economy will be transferred to the Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure.