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School Teachers Are Compelled To Join National Movement

15.10.2009
Gela Mtivlishvili, Kakheti

Teachers of public schools in Kakheti region are compelled to join the ruling party. The teachers say they received directives from school directors. The directors of public schools were instructed by the heads of district educational resource-centers. “Unless we apply to join the National Movement, the directors said our working hours will be limited or we will be fired,” said teachers.

“Several days ago, school director invited us to the meeting and instructed to join the ruling party. He said unless we obey the order, he will have to reduce our working hours or dismiss us from school. He said it was ordered by the head of the Gurjaani district educational resource center and if he does not obey the order, he will face problems. Several teachers asked him will every teacher be fired if most of us refuse to join the ruling party. The director replied he would be compelled to write resignation letter or board of supervisors will resign me from the position,” said teacher of public school in the village of Vazisubani in Gurjaani district. The respondent preferred to keep her name anonymous.

“I have been teaching Russian language and literature in this school for 12 years. I do not remember anybody to compel me to join any political party. I understand that elections of the local authority are approaching and they will make us work for them like we did at previous elections; though we were not members of the party then. During the previous elections we were ordered to vote out of the polling booth, particularly those whom they did not trust completely. If we had not obeyed they threatened with firing us from school. If they threat again, most teachers will accept their proposal in order not to remain unemployed. Thus, I cannot understand why they make us join the party?”

“I think a teacher shall not be member of any political party and they must be compelled to join it either. We must work with children but who lets us to implement our responsibilities? The elections are approaching and we have less time to work as teachers. Almost every day they take us to various meetings. They do not care whether we want it or not. It is obligatory for us and that is all.

Part of teachers could not disappoint our director and applied for the National Movement,” said the teacher.

Lawyers of the Human Rights Center state that teachers from various public schools in the region applied to their office for help.

“Teachers are interested whether they are obliged to apply for the membership of the National Movement. Directors of several public schools confirmed in private conversations that they were constructed by the heads of resource centers. They even showed us the forms that shall be filled in,” said Nino Andriashvili, lawyer for the Human Rights Center.

Lali Gabitashvili, head of Gurjaani district educational resource-center, categorically denies information. It must be noted that Gabitashvili occupied the position several days before the parliamentary elections on May 21, 2008 with the support of Kakheti region Vice-Governor Giorgi Sibashvili. At that time Giorgi Sibashvili was head of election HQ of the ruling party in Kakheti region. Gabitashvili was accompanying the single-mandate candidate of the ruling party Giorgi Ghviniashvili to public schools throughout the region; Ghviniashvili currently occupies the position of Kakheti regional governor. Gabitashvili was requesting the teachers to vote for Ghviniashvili. Former head of the resource center Dali Mindiashvili, an IDP from Tskhinvali district, was compelled to write resignation letter under threat of imprisonment before Gabitashvili occupied the position. Since then many personnel changes were done by the resource center in public schools. The resource center and regional administration fire the directors of schools who are less reliable for local authority. Instead their friends, relative and close people are appointed to the positions of schools directors. Short time ago, Nona Gomelauri, head of Dedoplistskaro district resource center, was ordered to write resignation letter. According to our information, it was decision of the single mandate MP Avtandil Lukashvili to fire Gomelauri from the position. Gomelauri does not want to comment on the fact. Now Marine Mekhrishvili, friend and reliable person of the MP occupies the position of the head of district resource center.

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