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Gia Nodia Is not Satisfied with the Reforms in Education System

 What promises were given to the teachers in Gali and Zugdidi districts?
Nana Pazhava, Zugdidi

Gia Nodia, the Minister of Education and Science handed out vouchers on health insurance personally to 688 teachers in Gali. He also distributed plentiful promises on behalf of his ministry to teachers in Zugdidi and Gali districts.  

Questions of nearly 300 teachers to newly appointed minister were harsh during the meeting held in the hall of the Public School # 2. During the three hours meeting Gia Nodia listened to the complaints of the teachers about the implemented reforms in the education system; the minister spoke about his own attitude to many questions discussed.

Increase of salaries for teachers is a priority for the Minister of Education and Science. He also considers that the election method of school directors is very important and assesses the balloting method of elections as inadmissible. Gia Nodia plans to implement structural reform in the system. He expresses his readiness to carry out professional training courses for teachers, to rehabilitate school facilities and to guarantee the impermissibility of working places for teachers.  

Gia Nodia: “The Cabinet Council considers the increase in the salaries for teachers as their priority duty. We will not have a good education system if the people working at schools do not receive proper salaries. The teachers should be protected. It is natural that a short term labor-contracts cause discontent of teachers”.

There were too many discontented teachers in the hall. Some of them made statements and others were waiting for the minister in the exit to apply to him personally. Nino Gabunia, a teacher who was fired from the Public School of Orsantia, a village in Zugdidi region, asked Mr. Nodia to reappoint her to her position. The teacher protested illegal decision of Eliso Chikvatia, the director of the school.     

Nino Gabunia: “Eliso Chikvatia has personal argument with me and she fired me illegally. She blames me for missing lessons and having conflicts with other teachers. Final reason for my dismissal was extra expense of the school budget; she decided to reduce the staff. The headmistress wanted to sack me to employ a new teacher instead of me.”
Nino Gabunia reported to the minister about the incident when the school headmistress tried to expel her with the support of police from the school. “Eliso Chikvatia planned to provoke me. She had warned police employees beforehand and waited for the suitable moment. However, Chikvatia could not realize her plans and could not demonstrate my resistance as hooliganism in front of law enforcers.”

Eliso Chikvatia, the headmistress of the public school in Orsantia does not deny the fact of police group mobilization at school and considers she made a legal decision to fire Gabunia. Gia Nodia promises to resolve the problem and intends to change the current methods of appointing and firing staff from Georgian public schools.

The professors-lecturers of the Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University’s branch in Zugdidi, which was closed down, expressed their dissatisfaction at the meeting with the Minister. Ketevan Sigua made an appeal to Gia Nodia in the name of about 100 lecturers and requested the Minister to resume the activities of the University branch in their region again.

Ketevan Sigua:”Closing down of the university branch in Zugdidi was a prompt step. It is unclear what type of institution was established on its base now. 10 years ago Eduard Shevardnadze opened the university here; and Mikheil Saakashvili planned to turn Zugdidi into a City of Universities before he came into office. After all that the University branch was destroyed all of sudden. The whole region and thousands of students were damaged. Now the establishment is run by a person who represented Civil Community (former leading party) and was a deputy district governor. Teona Khupenia left the teachers at the collage who met her appointment with roses and champagnes. She fired rest of the staff on political grounds... “

The head of the highest educational establishment considers the government’s decision was successful. “This establishment implements full academic and bachelor programs, works with the same program as the branch of the university. If someone does not like it is their problem. This establishment was staffed with the necessary number of people; employed personnel had corresponding experience”, stated Teona Khupenia.     

The teachers of the high school waiting for Gia Nodia in the exit spoke about their complaints too. 37 teachers of former vocational academy requested to employ them again. The fired teachers handed a special appeal to the minister personally and asked him to take a petition to the Georgian president.

The Minister of Education and Science talked about the program of public schools rehabilitation. Installation of modern central heating system, rehabilitation of sport grounds, equipping the school facilities with new desks and computers are envisaged in the program. Though the meeting with the Minister was arranged in the public school which was rehabilitated at the price of one and half million GEL. Although the Georgian President opened the school personally, the central heating did not work because boiler-mounting was not installed there. As for freezing pupils and teachers they conducted and attended lessons with great enthusiasm.

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