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Amendments to Law on High Education Stir Controversy

Amendments to Law on High Education Stir Controversy -

Draft amendments to the law on high education, drafted by the Education Ministry, which gives the Prime Minister right to appoint provisional heads of state universities, has met a strong opposition from some universities’ academic circles and UNM parliamentary minority group.

Even some members of the Georgian Dream parliamentary majority group spoke out against the proposal.

Among other issues, the proposed bill offers to give the Prime Minister the right to appoint an acting rector in state universities pending election of new rector; a candidate for an acting rector will be nominated to PM for confirmation by the Education Ministry.

Opponents say that this provision will pave the way for government meddling in the universities’ academic independence and significantly limit institutions’ autonomy.

Under the existing law, if a rector resigns, a governing body of the university, Academic Council, appoints a provisional, acting rector before the election of new one.
The bill was passed by the Parliament with its first reading on June 12. But at least dozen of lawmakers from the Georgian Dream parliamentary majority group, mainly those from the Republican Party, refused to support it; several MPs from PM Ivanishvili’s Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia party, among them MP Eliso Chapidze and MP Gedi Popkhadze, also did not vote for the bill.

[Civil.Ge Daily News]