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Christian-Democrats want more accountability in education reforms

By Salome Modebadze
Wednesday, June 6
Christian Democratic Movement (CDM) representative Levan Vepkhvadze has accused the Ministry of Education and Science (MES) of using school children as "experimental rabbits" in the reform-making process. Stressing the need for increased government accountability, the CDM MP said that reforms planned by the government are not being properly discussed with Parliament.

As he said at the Tuesday’s plenary session, Parliament should be aware of the government's plans, noting that lawmakers have been largely ignorant of reforms carried out over the last eight years.

Declaring that Ministers do not care about Georgians' everyday problems, Vepkhvadze demanded debates in which Ministers would answer MPs' questions and be open to receive different opinions. He said the framework of such a meeting should differ from the government hour, where Ministers deliver speeches without further discussion.

But Goka Gabashvli, Chair of the Parliamentary Education, Science and Culture Committee and member of the United National Movement (UNM), said the opposition has got used to discouraging ongoing reforms. Accusing the CDM of being incompetent, he said that what the opposition calls “a silly experiment” at first, a month later becomes a successful reform.

Gabashvili maintained that innovations are necessary for achieving success in the educational sphere. He also said that without optimization of the examination system, it would be difficult to ensure an objective selection of students for university entrance. Stressing there is still much to be done in this sector, the UNM MP advised his colleagues in the opposition to better familiarize themselves with the topic.

“The education sphere is not only for Parliamentary debates… It’s a wide sphere,” Gabahsvili said, emphasizing the engagement of students, their parents, and educators in the process.

Positive about the results of the high school graduation exams for the 2011-2012 academic year, President Mikheil Saakashvili’s spokeswoman said new initiatives are already being planned. Explaining that these initiatives would be made public in the near future, Manana Manjgaladze said they would increase the efficiency of the education sector.