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Sanikidze named new Education Minister

By Salome Modebadze
Wednesday, July 17
"I will not change the course of the systemic depolarization established in the Ministry of Education and Science" said newly appointed Minister of Education, Tamar Sanikidze, on July 16.

Sanikidze, who held the post of the First Deputy Minister, said the initial steps have already been taken in order for the reforms initiated by the ministry to be implemented. She also emphasized that the public will be fully engaged in the process and their opinions will be taken into consideration.

According to the new minister, by combining the quality of studies with the contextual changes Georgia will reach a level similar to that of advanced countries. She said a 3-year plan of infrastructural rehabilitation aims at improving the environment at educational institutions; while at the same time, contextual changes are also underway.

As the resigning minister, Giorgi Margvelashvili said Sanikidze has been the co-author of all the projects carried out at the ministry for the last 8-9 months.

Praising Sanikidze’s achievements in management, Margvelashvili said that she has been carrying out communications with the parliament and worked both with the majority and minority with great success. “This is why I presented her candidacy to the PM and received confirmation,” Margvelashvili said.

Summarizing the projects carried out during his time as the minister, Margvelashvili also introduced several upcoming projects to the media.

The depolarization of the system of education; an increase in salaries for teachers (26%-60%), school administration and technical staff (40%-45%); the provision of school buses (for 330 public schools) and free textbooks for every public school student, have all been implemented together with Sanikidze.

Margvelashvili said the fact that each and every child will receive free textbooks in September will help parents avoid financial problems. He also emphasized that around 15, 000 children will have an opportunity to study at professional colleges without charge. Moreover, 17 specializations at universities will be free, the construction of eight new schools is underway, while 600 schools are to be rehabilitated. According to the Ministry of Education and Science, for the first time PhD students will also receive state financing and university professors will receive competitive salaries.

Margvelashvili also announced that the Institute of Psychology named after Dimitri Uznadze will become the basis for the restoration of science curricula in Georgian.

Parliamentary Chairman, Davit Usupashvili, said Margvelashvili is leaving the post of minister not because he is tired or could not deal with the responsibilities, but because he is a presidential candidate. Thus, he said the minister is responsible for selecting his replacement as the recommendation of the predecessor is important.

Margvelashvili plans to begin his active presidential campaign as soon as the bureaucratic procedures are complete.