Alliance for Georgia promotes education financing reform
By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, October 28The Alliance for Georgia held a special press conference yesterday at the Free Democrat party office where Georgia’s education problems were discussed. Speeches were made by the Alliance’s education group leader Nino Goguadze and group member Kote Jandieri.
Goguadze said that the state voucher financing system is harmful for schools and higher education institutions. Based on the official findings of the Ministry of Education the financing of social sciences, business and law studies has increased from 53.2% to 62% of the total education budget but the funding of all other subjects has decreased significantly, humanities and arts from 18.6% to 11.9%, natural sciences, mathematics and computer science from 15.8% to 8%, health and social services from 14.5 to 4.5%, engineering and industry from 7% to 2.61%, agriculture and veterinary science from 1.15% to 0.24% and teacher training from 2% to 0.075%.
“If this process continues, very soon Georgia will have very few humanities practitioners and artists, natural scientists and specialists in mathematics and computer science. We will have no doctors, agriculturalists, veterinarians, engineers and teachers. This means that the finances are not being shared out rationally and some serious changes need to be made in this direction. Market demand must not determine which sectors should be more assisted, as this may impose significant difficulties in the future, as the market is very unpredictable. When there are some changes in market demands we will be left without the corresponding specialists.
“It is really disturbing that the Georgian Education System is so directed towards the Labour market; first of all it should answer to the country’s and society’s demands. The Government should not leave its citizens without doctors, scientists and so on. This kind of attitude means that students and pupils have no freedom of choice,” stated Goguadze, adding that the Georgian Government must have clear policies on higher education and the necessary professions should be financed directly by the State, giving a motivation for young people to study strategically important and useful subjects.
The Alliance for Georgia is currently presenting a new strategic plan to the Government, which would involve increasing the financing of different subjects with vital importance for the country’s future development and progress. The Messenger has tried to contact the Deputy Ministers of Education, but has not received a comment on this plan, and the Ministry’s Press Centre told us that it had no information on it.