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National Examination Center without Maia Miminoshvili?!

29.05.2012

Nona Mchedlishvili, Radio Liberty

Minister of Education of Georgia Dimitry Shashkin fired Maia Miminoshvili, director of the National Examination Center. According to the information from the Ministry’s website, there was principal controversy between the policy of the Ministry of Education and Maia Miminoshvili with regard to reforms. This incompliancy became reason for the dismissal of Maia Miminoshvili though media reports about different political motive too.

The version of motivation for sacking Maia Miminoshvili, that can be close to the official version, is her controversy with the Minister Dimitry Shashkin. Reportedly, Maia Miminoshvili supported the idea of simplifying examination system and the Minister did not support her idea.

“Before making final decisions, we discuss the issue inside the organization, we argue about it, listen to each other, measure everything and only afterwards we make decisions. If I offer some particular proposals to Mr. Dimitry Shashkin – it does not mean that I ever exceeded my competence; I was always focused on the examination system. If they evaluate is as unhealthy argument and if it is incompliance of ideas, it is completely unclear for me,” Maia Miminoshvili said; the second version of her dismissal – as if she was punished for her son’s participation in the May 27 demonstration of the Georgian Dream together with his wife - is more obscure for her.

“My son is superficial person; he lives separately and if his decision and opinions became ground for my dismissal it is full disaster. Was it nice when my son failed exams and all TV-Channels reported about it? They all took advantage of this case then. How can I prohibit my grown-up son to demonstrate his affiliation to any political party?! And it does not prove that I share his opinion either,” Maia Miminoshvili said and recalled that she had called her son when he was attending at the demonstration and warned him to be careful.

As for the incident about Miminoshvili’s son, it occurred on August 22, 2009. On that day, Maia Miminoshvili reported to the President of Georgia about the results of the 2009 National Exams. To demonstrate no-corruptive examination system, the President of Georgia decided to announce that Maia Miminoshvili’s son had failed the exams.

“You should establish the system which will not be ruined by anyone after I and you quit the position. People have got used to the idea that nobody complains about examination system. Nobody doubts about it; and to prove it, the best example is when your own son fails the exam. If you had minimally supported him, he would have passed exams. It proves something, is not it?!” Mikheil Saakashvili said on August 22, 2009.

That time prognosis that Maia Miminoshvili would remain on the position for a long time failed. The representatives of the National Examination Center are concerned about the leave of the director at the moment of upcoming national exams that can completely ruin effective examination system that was result of year-long work.

On May 28, the personnel of the National Examination Center sent urgent appeal to the President of Georgia which reads that Dimitry Shashkin’s decision seriously undermines the successful implementation of the National Exams, certificate exams of teachers and master-exams. “We kindly request you to make the decision which will avoid similar threats and protect us from public mistrust and nihilism,” the appeal states.

Head of Public Relation Service at the National Examination Center Maia Gabunia said: “I will definitely file resignation letter as well as majority of our colleagues. I would like to underline one thing: every person working in this organization together with Maia, was implementing his/her responsibilities completely and exercised the principles that were established from the very first day of the education reform.”

The National Education Center was founded in 2004. However, they started working on the new system of evaluation in the education field long before – in 2001 in the frame of the World Bank project. Maia Miminoshvili was leader of the group working on the creation of new examination model in Georgia and its completion. In 2002, the National Center of Evaluation and Examinations held first state exams in Georgia with the new method. In 2007, Maia Miminoshvili was promoted to the position of the Education Minister but two months later she returned back to the National Examination Center. Minister’s decision on her dismissal was complete surprise for Maia Miminoshvili. She met the Minister on May 28 and Maia Miminoshvili said their meeting lasted 2 minutes without particular explanations.

The Ministry of Education turned up unwilling to respond to our phone questions. “We have already released official statement and cannot add anything else. We cannot prove that her dismissal was motivated by her son’s participation in the demonstration. It is nonsense!” head of Public Relation Service at the Education Ministry Nino Potrzhebskaia said.

Deputy minister of education Koka Seperteladze conversed about the issue with the Public Broadcaster and he practically repeated what the official statement of the Ministry stated. Namely, he said Maia Miminoshvili had incompliant approach to the ongoing reforms in the education system.

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