AgriUni rector: Real target of this political process is Bendukidze

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All those assumptions that the abolishment of authorization of the Agricultural University in 2013 was a politically motivated process have been proved, Rector of Agricultural University Lasha Gotsiridze said before entering the prosecutor's office for being interrogated on 17 March. Initially, Lasha Gotsiridze was summoned by the investigative unit of the Finance Ministry for questioning, however, the venue and time for interrogation changed thereafter.

"Our each and every step is subject to unfounded inspections. Our employees have been summoned for interrogations. It is undoubtedly a political process and it seems that the real target is [the founder of the university] Kakha Bendukidze," Gotsiridze said.

According to lawyer Otar Kakhidze, the interrogation is of formal nature.

"All the information as to how the privatization [of the Agricultural University] took place, how many millions were invested in the transformation of a dilapidated agricultural educational institution into the modern Agricultural University, is documented in the case. They seized all these documents and have this information. It is clear that this is the continuation of pressure," Kakhidze said.

The investigation already took financial and other documentation from the Agricultural University.

To support their rector, professors and students of the Agricultural University gathered outside the prosecutor's office. They also see political motives behind this case.

On 12 March 2013, the Authorization Council of National Center for Education Quality Enhancement (NCEQE) cancelled the authorization of the Agricultural University. The members of the Council, who were appointed by the then Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili on 8 February, took this decision after considering the 80-page NCEQE conclusion during ten hours. Representatives of the Agricultural University also attended the Authorization Council sitting.

The Authorization Council abolished the authorization to the Agricultural University for several reasons. Namely, it considered a gross violation that not all the textbooks were found in the library and the delivery and acceptance of several textbooks were not registered; that an opening was announced for one job but two persons were hired as the commission found two persons deserving to be hired; credits were awarded to two students for courses undertaken at Armenia's American University.

The abolition of authorization to the Agricultural University triggered protest on the part of students and larger society.

The Authorization Council reinstated the authorization to the Agricultural University on 26 March 2013. The Council took into account the University's request and recovered the accreditation on all 25 programs without interruption, citing a heightened public interest towards those agricultural specialties which are not taught in any other university of Georgia as a ground for the decision. Members of the Council also said that the NCEQE was authorized to conduct monitoring on the Agricultural University to ensure remaining shortcomings are eliminated.

 

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