Access to higher education remains a significant challenge in Georgia. The number of students suspended in 2021 has reached an all-time high – 82,212 students (almost every second) can no longer continue their studies, including due to financial debt – 33,109 (actually, this figure is much higher because, due to some considerations, students do not officially fix the financial problem ).
Against the background of severe socio-economic problems, this problem became particularly acute during the pandemic. 01.02.2020 to date (pandemic period): Status suspended for 63,037 students, due to financial debt – 28,401 students.
At the initiative of the Center for Progress, we filed a petition on behalf of 10,000 students requesting funding for suspended students. Tbilisi City Hall heeded our appeal and last year funded both excellent students and the socially vulnerable category (150,000 points or less). Next year’s draft budget envisages funding for more than 3,000 students.
It is true that the students were funded by special programs of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports of Adjara, however, a number of criteria have been established, based on which many students who have a severe socio-economic background during an aggravated pandemic remain out of education.
According to the official data available today, students can no longer continue their studies: LEPL – Batumi Shota Rustaveli State University – 2008 students, LEPL – Batumi Art University – 61 students, LEPL – Teaching University – Batumi State Maritime Academy – 724 students.
Due to financial debt, the status has been suspended – LEPL – Batumi Shota Rustaveli State University – 637 students, LEPL – Batumi Art University – 7 students, LEPL – Teaching University – Batumi State Maritime Academy – 37 students.
Therefore, we appeal to the Ministry of Education, Culture, and Sports of the Autonomous Republic of Adjara to take into account the pandemic situation, severe socio-economic background, study the needs of students for student funding, increase the budget and increase the score category of socially vulnerable students (as in Tbilisi) to 150,000 points.