TBILISI, DFWatch–After another day of protest against the suspension of the Agriculture University’s accreditation, students and the education minister agreed to meet again and go through all the details which caused the suspension.
On Wednesday, the students were joined by students at other universities for a rally outside the office of the Education Ministry. Despite heavy rain, the students remained for a couple of hours holding posters and reading out loud their messages to the ministry.
“We will protect the Agriculture University, because this university belongs to us,” one of the students shouted into a megaphone.
Posters of the protesters read messages like ‘We love Agr-Uni’, ‘Get our university back’, ‘A doctor treats a human, a veterinarian humanity’, ‘An e-book is also a book’ and ‘PDF – Portable Document Format’, which are respond to one of the reasons, pointed out by the authorization committee, which claims that the Agriculture University doesn’t have all of the required literature in its library. However, academic staff and students claim that the university’s e-library keeps millions of books that are accessible to students.
In parallel with the rally, six representatives of the student initiative group met with Education Minister Giorgi Margvelashvili and obtained agreement that members of the council who made the decision to cancel the authorization of the university will meet with the students and review each problematic point with them.
The minister suggested that if the students don’t like the legislation by which the authorization of the university was canceled, they can prepare their own legislative initiative and present it to the government.
The topic at the second meeting, which will probably be held on Monday, will be the protocol showing the commission’s decision.
Students at the Agriculture University, its academic staff, government opponents and supporters of the National Movement, as well as several non-governmental organizations claim that the decision was politically motivated and meant to punish Kakha Bendukidze, a businessman who was economy minister in Saakashvili’s government, but left politics a few years ago and has invested in the rehabilitation of the university.
The education minister underlined that the university has not been closed down and in fact continues with full rights until June. He asked people not to make it into a political confrontation.
Margvelashvili promised students that if there were errors in the procedure to take away the school’s authorization, this will be resolved soon.
Challenging the minister to a debate, Bendukidze said he is convinced that the decision to revoke the authorization of his university was wrong and asked for it to be canceled. He says the only way out is to reconvene the authorization council and that it abolishes its decision.