Students Appeal to the President and Minister of Education
Representatives of the student organization “Student League” at Tbilisi State University’s (TSU) Zugdidi branch have begun a television appeal. They appealed to the President and the Minister of Education and Science, Aleksandre Lomaia. The students became active after the announcement about closing down the University Branch. Some of the students demand the right to continue their studies in Zugdidi, while others demand that Zugdidi State University not be closed.
Ana Tsitlidze, a representative of the Student League, said at least one university should be in Zugdidi. “We have appealed to the President and the Minister of Education and Science. If the university is abolished there will be two problems. First, students of the Zugdidi Branch of TSU cannot go on with their studies at any other schools in Georgia because they cannot afford to move to another city to learn. Second, if the university is shut down, Zugdidi will be without any higher education institution. I am honored to say that the Zugdidi Branch of TSU is one of the glimmers of hope not only in Zugdidi, but in the whole region. I think that existence of the State University in Zugdidi is very important for regional development,” said Tsitlidze, a student in her fourth year.
She added that she is in her fourth year and in the case of liquidation, she will receive her diploma anyway. However, she worries that the city which will remain without a respectable university. Tsitlidze hopes that the Ministry of Education will pay attention to their appeal, and that the President’s word –“Zugdidi must become a city of universities”- will remain true.
Students of the university were given special lists of high schools where they can continue their studies. However, most of the students consider that because of difficult economic conditions they will not be able to move to other cities. The other problem faced by some students is that their major is not offered elsewhere. “I entered the University branch because there was a pharmacology faculty. None of the listed schools has such a faculty. They say that Tbilisi State University will accept us without any problems but they do not care that I cannot go on learning what I was learning before,” said Nino Kiria, a first-year student.
Students, who are studying in the faculty of primary education are facing the same problems. According to representatives of the student government, they will discuss all problems at their meeting with Gia Khubua, rector of the TSU.
Zaza Kvatsabia, a coordinator and lawyer for he Human Rights Center’s Zugdidi office, said that closing down of the university is a crime. “It can be said that the Ministry of Education and Science committed a crime by having ordered the abolishment of the Zugdidi branch of TSU. You cannot leave hundreds of young people in the street and deprive them of their right to an education. If that particular university does not meet certain standards, students have not fault in it. I think students have a right to finish the institute they have entered. In fact they have no alternative. If they cannot graduate form that university, they will remain without an education. It will be too unfair of the government.”
Nana Sajaia, Zugdidi
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