Mamuka Bakhtadze: Promotion and actualization of education as a national idea has been my main motivation for entering politics Print Version

2019-09-02

 

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Under the strategic development framework, education enjoys the most important role, and I have always said that the promotion and actualization of education as a national idea has been my main motivation for entering politics, the Prime Minister of Georgia stated during his today's meeting with TV hosts.
According to the Prime Minister, education, in combination with strategic directions, is the only way to put Georgia among developed economies.
"Even more so, the implementation of education as a national idea is the most daring step we have taken since regaining independence. I have spoken repeatedly about it: for years, the sector of education received the scarcest financing, a strategic-and, in some years, intentional-error, the price of which Georgia continues to pay. It is very simple equation: either we channel most of our budget and investment assets toward education or Georgia will not be a successful state in the 21st century, and even the very existence of our state may be questioned. Consequently, it is an existential issue for our country, one of national importance as an idea," Mamuka Bakhtadze emphasized.
The Prime Minister underlined that Georgia's freedom lies in education.
"Before entering politics, I was actively working on this strategic direction; and, as Finance Minister, I saw the systemic problem preventing the Government from implementing drastic changes in this regard. This problem became especially evident during budgeting when we ended up facing the need to address ongoing challenges, everyday social challenges, and, at the same time, to channel resources to finance strategic directions, and all that with scarce budget assets. It is impossible to have everything prioritized under the budget, otherwise nothing will have prospects of strategic development. And that was the reason why I raised this issue on the agenda, so that we could treat the issue of mobilizing finances for education on a legislative level. As a result, we have a new legislative regulation obligating every successive government to allocate 6% of GDP, that is, quarter of the budget, toward the sector of education. Many may find this number insufficient, but in reality it is minimal. 6% of GDP invested by the state in education will enable us to attract additional 4-5% from the private sector, this way turning education into a dominant sector with a double-digit share in the economy. And that means catching up with the most advanced countries that have succeeded in establishing knowledge-based sustainable economies," the Prime Minister said.
According to Mamuka Bakhtadze, this fundamental educational reform is in a way a continuation of a historic mission because, in times of prominence throughout the country's centuries-old history, our great ancestors focused on education.
"Especially noteworthy in this regard is the experience of the first republic, under which, the authorities, in mere three years, opened in excess of 1,000 schools and established the first university. Knowledge Georgia's calling card in the 21st century. I have faith in the exceptional talent of the Georgian nation, and thus education is our path to freedom that has no alternative. It is the system of education that must raise future public servants, service members, police officers, entrepreneurs, doctors, engineers, professionals, and decent citizens, those on whose shoulders the Georgian state rests.
We singled out five levels under the educational reform:
- Preschool education
- General education
- Vocational education
- Higher education, and
- Science.
This reform involves the following:
- Significant salary raises for kindergarten and school teachers, scientists, professors, researchers
- Construction of highest-standard schools an kindergartens in every settlement
- Creation of most modern laboratories and research centers
- Entry of leading Western universities into Georgia
- Actualization of the idea of Georgia as an educational hub.
Education, alongside a healthy lifestyle and culture, is the foundation of human capital, Georgia's greatest, strongest resource. And that is exactly why it is so important to ensure harmonious and interwoven development in all three directions," the Prime Minister stated.