Democracy with Soviet Signature
18 November, 2010
Democracy with Soviet Signature

At the end of this week pupils of our Capital’s schools will stage another protest rally. They demand from the Authorities to remove those subjects from the examination list, which the Georgian Ministry of Education introduced recently.

The reason is that the pupils were not studying these subjects before. According to them, they and their parents are being threatened and blackmailed in parallel with the protests.
In the Soviet period at the end of 1980s, when I was in my 12th school year, my parents were frequently summoned by the school administration. My mom knew very well the office of the director there. Often they threatened to expel me from the school for the sole reason of my support for national movement and protest rallies raging at the time. By the order of the education the Authorities and the school administration stood on guard along the entire road from our homes to the school. There were threats and harassments, blackmailing of our parents and intimidation to fire them from their jobs. After all, we somehow got over with it and seemingly stepped into the new statehood.
Today, in the period of “democratic lighthouse”, pupils of several 12th grade public schools of Georgian capital are accusing the Authorities of attempting to oppress them as the police summons them to their headquarters and threatens with expulsions. Directors of eight schools signed letters of resignation and left their offices. Apparently they did not act out of their own will. They acknowledge informally that they were forced to sign the letters under the pressure of today’s “democratic education regime”, even if the Ministry of Education has no legal right to fire a school director.
The reason of all these events is very simple: pupils of the last year started to stage rallies against the Authorities demanding deletion of certain subjects from the list of school graduation exams. The pupils state that the subjects which the Ministry of Education has lately introduced, is not being taught in schools. Some of the rally participants who chose to remain unidentified told us that in the police they were threatened with expulsion from schools and even transferring to the so called “school-internats” for poorly performing pupils, unless they stop their protests.
It is noteworthy that this sort of statement comes not just from one or two pupils. Many more say that their parents too are subjected to the threats of dismissals from their jobs. Frightened pupils put on masks before joining the rallies, so that no one from the harassers can identify and harass them and their parents later on.
On top of it, political forces are now engaging themselves in the case. Leaders of Labor Party sent a letter to international children rights organizations asking to pay attention to the violation of children rights in Georgia and exert diplomatic pressure on Georgian Authorities in order to stop continuous harassment and blackmailing of pupils in Tbilisi as soon as possible.
However, Georgian Ministry of Science and Education is not going to cancel the exams in contentious subjects. Instead, they call the ‘twelvers’ to stop going to private teachers to study only four exam subjects and allocate time equally to all exam subjects.
“We will fight against oppression and harassment of schoolchildren. We demand abolition of exams for the last year pupils in 8 subjects. The Government must do it without fail. There are subjects on the list of exams which we have not been taught for several years by now. In other words, these subjects were not present in the program before. There is no enough time left to prepare for exams in these subjects. The problem is not only with the time deficit but also with financial predicaments. Nearly all the pupils face it. That is why we demand annulment of these newly introduced exams,” say the action participants. They are not going to give in and they are ready to stage further protest actions.
It must be noted that the protests reverberated across other schools of the Capital, expanding the geography of the youth unrest. According to the information obtained by the Georgian Journal, public order guards – the MIA academy trained uniformed civil officers introduced by the Education Ministry in the schools – enhanced their vigilance over pupils to prevent anyone of them from joining the protest rallies and transform the process into a massive show of youth power. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Education requested all directors of schools to be extremely attentive to their respective pupils.
According to Dimitri Shashkin, Georgian Minister of Education and Science, the Minister has the right to have detailed and precise information about the situation in any public school: “It is a duty of the Education Ministry to react to the breach of rules. If there is any breach of order, the general inspection would undertake corresponding measures in the school concerned.”
Certainly, both Ministry of Education and Science and police dismiss any allegation of mistreating and threatening pupils and their parents. They simply call them all nonsense.
Despite this position of the official governmental structure, the fact holds that directors of several schools resigned. In addition, pupils and parents assert that cases of harassment did take place.
Besides, the information agency InterPressNews spread the information a few days ago that Maia Giorgadze, Director of Public School No. 149 was taken by emergency team to the hospital. As the agency reports, the source of the information is Khatuna Elashvili, Head of Study Department of the same school.
Moreover – recently Patriarch of all Georgia Ilia II asked Education Minister Shashkin to show kindheartedness and allow the resigned directors of protest-ridden schools to return to their positions.


 

Other Stories
The Triumvirate has spoken
Former prosecutors from abroad, who had, in various periods in the past, leveled charges against former President of Serbia Slobodan Milošević, former Prime Minister of Israel Ehud Olmert
Georgia has met first-phase requirements of the visa dialogue, second phase can be started - European Commission
Georgia has come one step closer towards the goal of a visa free regime with the European Union, after the European Commission today adopted its second progress report
"The president, the government and the parliament - we all are and will be in agreement" - Irakli Gharibashvili
The President of Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili and the Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvhili attended the Security Council session.
I believe Georgia will continue to implement European agenda of ambitious reforms - Catherine Ashton
High Representative of the EU, Vice President of the European Commission Catherine Ashton has sent a letter to Georgia’s Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze in relation to expiration
Prime Minister offers Abkhazians and Ossetians autonomy and European prospects within the boundaries of Georgia
Georgia's Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili has addressed the people of Abkhazia and South Ossetia while presenting the public with a report on the Government activity
2 polling stations opened in Georgia with regard to Ukraine's elections
2 polling stations have been opened in Georgia with regard to Ukraine's Verkhovna Rada elections - one in the Embassy of Ukraine
“I am very proud that Kakha Kaladze is my brother-in-law but I am not going live in anybody’s shadow” - Giorgi Areshidze
A noisy meeting of three committees took place in the Tbilisi City Council. The noise was caused by nomination of brother of Energy Minister Kakha Kaladze’s wife, Giorgi Areshidze, as a chairmanship candidate in the City Hall’s
“We continue to stress to the Georgian Government the importance of due process and rule of law” - Jen Psaki
“We’ve expressed some concerns about the way some cases have been handled, and those concerns remain”, US State Department’s Spokesperson Jen Psaki
Russia more reliable than EU, NATO and US for majority of Georgians?
On October 3rd and 4th, the Civil Rights Defense and Research Center “The Marshal of Society” (with its sociological branch headed by Otar Stepanishvili) conducted a poll
Abkhazian “Independence” At Stake?
After the possible Russia-Abkhazia Treaty on Alliance and Integration became public knowledge, the temperature in Abkhazia’s already tumultuous political pot rose to the boiling point.
‘We need one more road to Georgia, repair it immediately!’ – Putin
The restoration of the Avar-Kakheti road is in the strategic interest of Russia. It will render Eastern Georgia completely unprotected.
President Margvelashvili takes part in cultural events with his spouse in Japan
President Giorgi Margvelashvili and his wife Maka Chichua have visited the city of Kyoto within the official visit to Japan.
Up to 75 000 Euros poured in the publishing of Usupashvili's letter - “Transparency International Georgia”
As “Transparency International Georgia” reports, up to 75 thousand Euros have been poured in the publishing of the letter of Davit Usupashvili, Head of Georgia’s Parliament, in International New York Times.
“Name one country that had been in such a poor state and was revived in two years” - Gharibashvili
Can you name one country that had been in such a poor state and was revived in two years? This is ruled out.
There had been preparations for Margvelashvili-Putin meeting - Vano Machavariani
Vano Machavariani, the Former Advisor of the President for Foreign Issues, has said that there had been preparations for holding a meeting between Margvelashvili and Putin
Reuters: “We will never bow to the Russians” – Irakli Alasania
Defense Minister of Georgia, Irakli Alasania spoke about current relations of the country with Russia and touched upon the issue of Ukraine in the article under the title "Defying Russia, Georgia to host NATO training center", published by the Reuters.
“My words were not understood by the provocateur and adventurer” –Gharibashvili
“My team and I would not accept any word from a person who was a main creator of criminal system,
“The Complicated Life of Georgia's Philosopher President” – Foreign Policy
Anna Nemtsova from Foreign Policy had ‘A conversation with Giorgi Margvelashvili,’the President of Georgia. He discusses political situation and current events developing in the country.
International NY Times: “Saakashvili Prosecuted by His Own Past And Not Putin’s “Accomplice” Ivanishvili” – Usupashvili
"It is an offense to me, as Bidzina Ivanishvili’s political partner, chairman of the Parliament of Georgia, cofounder of the Georgian Dream Coalition, to claim that my former political leader and the country’s former Prime Minister has been serving another state and committing treason,"
“They (EPP and EDG), in my view, want the UNM government back” - Exclusive interview with PACE co-rapporteur Michael Jensen
– You visited Georgia before the PACE session as a co-rapporteur with Boris Cilevics. What are your main concerns? What do you think still needs improvement
Zurab Abashidze – It seems that Japaridze has some age problems and that his brakes have betrayed him
Prime Minister's Special Representative for Relations with Russia Zurab Abashidze has responded to Tedo Japaridze, the Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, which advised
We want fraternity with Ossetians and Abkhazians and today’s game was a clear demonstration of it - Irakli Gharibashvili
We don’t want to be enemies of Ossetian and Abkhazian brothers, we want fraternity with them and today’s game
“Georgia is a powerful and impressive partner” - US Assistant Secretary of Defense
“NATO's door remains open to new members,” Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs Derek Chollet said
“We must be candid, we must be critical enough” - Boris Cilevics on the Council of Europe Resolution
On October 1st the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) adopted a resolution on “the functioning of democratic institutions in Georgia.”
I want to apologize to all foreign citizens that had to face problems with regard to activation of the new visa policy – Irakli Gharibashvili
I want to apologize to all foreign citizens that had to face problems with regard to activation of the new visa policy, Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili said.
Also on the Web
It is a glimpse into the future that will inspire wonder in some people but perhaps strike terror into the heart of the nervous flyer: a windowless plane that nonetheless allows
A building in the center of a village named Mokhe became a reason for a conflict between local Christians and Muslims. Municipal administration has recently decided to turn
NASA has played down the impact on the crew of the International Space Station following the explosion of a supply rocket shortly after take off from a commercial launch
Many well-known Georgian women have united in a protest against femicide – Maka Chichua, Tea Tsulukiani, Natia Panjikidze, Maia Panjikidze, Eka Tkeshelashvili, Nino Sukhishvili
A Security Council Meeting was held at Georgia’s Presidential residence located in the Avlabari district. The meeting was attended by both the President and the Prime Minister
Maia Panjikidze, Minister of Foreign Affairs, along with her deputy Tamar Beruchashvili will take part in a performance named “Mortally Wounded Women”, held in Marjanishvili Theater.
When Georgian and foreign tourists come into the region of Turkey that used to be known historically as Tao-Klarjeti, they frequently discover that information provided by billboards
Ads for Lincoln Motors featuring Oscar-winner Matthew McConaughey got the "Saturday Night Live" spoof treatment, and the skits - featuring Jim Carrey - have got people laughing
Georgian government has presented a 2-year report on their activities.
Due to Tbilisoba Festival, a traditional car show was held at Metekhi Bridge, organized by Auto Bild magazine.
GEL Exchange
EUR
1
EUR
2.2097
USD
1
USD
1.7544
GBP
1
GBP
2.8070
RUB
100
RUB
4.0429