Statement about the cancellation of authorization for the Agrarian University
TI Georgia is responding to the decision made by the Authorization Council of the National Center for Educational Quality Enhancement in connection with the cancellation of authorization for the Agrarian University of Georgia.
Georgia has been carrying out an education reform in the recent years, which is assessed positively by the public. One of the important innovations has been the introduction of authorization and accreditation of institutions of higher education, which has enhanced the quality of learning. The Agrarian University has implemented important reforms in the recent years, which has increased the popularity of the university: the university was among the top ten leading educational institutions of the country according to the average score in the national exams of students admitted in 2012.
According to the information that has been disseminated, the National Center for Educational Quality Enhancement started inspecting the Agrarian University on January 3. Today, on the basis of a report prepared by the monitoring group, the Authorization Council has made a decision to terminate the authorization for the university. The termination of authorization implies that a redistribution of students to other universities will be made after the end of the current semester.
Unfortunately, at this stage it is impossible to determine exactly on the basis of what concrete violations the authorization was cancelled, though, according to the information disseminated by the media, it can be argued that the relevance of the violations and the cancellation of authorization rise too many questions. At the same time, there are different reports as to whether the university was given the 15-day period established by law to correct the shortcomings.
Activities directed towards ensuring quality in the education system should be welcomed in general. However, considering that the infrastructure in the university has recently undergone essential improvements and the demand of university entrants for areas of study that were not popular has increased, it is unclear why it was necessary to take such strict measures against the university. There is a doubt that the decision may be connected with the participation of representatives of the former government in the management of the university, which causes a great concern. By interrupting the educational process in this manner, along with creating barriers for a developing educational institution will certainly damage the educational system of Georgia and create a danger of political influence on institutions of higher education.
We call upon the Ministry of Education and Science and the National Center for Educational Quality Enhancement to:
ensure the transparency of the process as much as possible, so that their decisions are not perceived as politically motivated by employees and students of the university and the public;
ensure that any decision made in connection with the university is unbiased and as substantiated as possible, in order to rule out the existence of political motivations;
ensure that they have uniform approaches to different educational institutions;
ensure that the authorization for the Agrarian University is renewed, taking the interests of students into consideration. It is important to ensure that the educational process continues painlessly, the responsibility for which, in this case, is also placed on the Ministry of Education.
We also ask holders of political offices to refrain from making political statements to ensure that the issue is resolved painlessly and in accordance with law.
TI Georgia will continue to monitor this process and provide the interested public with relevant information.