TBILISI, DFWatch – Former employees at Georgia’s education ministry are reporting about harassment and threats after they resigned in protest against the ministry’s decision to fire the head of the National Examinations Center.

Almost half the employees at the exam center resigned in protest against the dismissal of their boss, two months before the country is facing national tests which will vet high school students for admittance to university.

Education Minister Dimitry Shashkin’s official reason for firing Maya Miminoshvili, head of the exam center, was “incompatibility” between her and himself in how to continue with the reforms which the country has been conducting since the rose revolution in 2003. But Miminoshvili claims that her dismissal had a political motivation.

Nearly 60 employees at Miminoshvili’s exam center resigned in protest, saying that they backed her up on the reform issue.

“We want to attract the attention of international and human rights organizations on conditions that there is harassment and threats on resigned employees. We consider that Maya Miminoshvili, former chair of National Examinations Center faced special risks and danger. So we ask for the support of human rights organizations,” Iva Mindadze, former head of foreign language’s group at the center today on press conference at Tbilisi Marriott Hotel.

Employees say the police called them at home and made threats. Some were told that they have children and that they should consider their well-being. They avoided to give names reasons of safety.

“Leaving our job was a principle decision and a response to the minister’s unjustified and irresponsible decision, to his politics and actions. This decision is not related to any political views. It is an insult against us to seek for political motives behind this step.”

Education minister Shashkin brought in the former rector of Georgian Police Academy as Mimisoshvili’s replacement. Khatia Dekanoidze also brought along many of her colleagues to fill the positions of those who had left their jobs at the exam center. The education ministry promised that the upcoming exams will be conducted as usual, and on schedule.