TBILISI, DFWatch — The new government has decided to cancel tuition fees for many popular studies.

Bachelor students in 14 fields of specialization at state universities will have their tuition fees cut to zero from 2013.

The free subjects will be agronomy, education sciences, energy and electric engineering, construction, mathematics, chemistry, physics, biology, economy, archeology, history, Georgian philology and architecture.

The Education Ministry allocated USD 4.8 million to cover the cost of the reform.

The initiative applies to seven universities, where students within these fields will have no tuition fee for four years.

Deputy Education Minister Davit Zurabishvili explains that the goal of the initiative is to make those specializations more popular, as they need some encouragement for students, while the country needs these specialists.

Education Minister Giorgi Margvelashvili said at a briefing that his ministry plans to free an additional USD 58 million in next year’s budget in order to increase financing for bachelor students.

Currently, studying for a bachelor’s degree at a state university costs USD 1 500 a year. School graduates pass national exams, which also defines if a student will receive a state grant – 100, 70, 50 percent financing. The previous government also financed 30 percent of grant for students, but the new government cancels it in order to increase the number of students who will receive 50 and 70 percent of state grant.

“30 percent grant didn’t really give a large advantage, so we were able to increase 50, 70 and 100 percent grants and more students will receive it,” the Deputy Education Minister says.

The ministry also plans to increase financing for doctor’s degrees.

“The ministry allocated USD 1.4 million in order to finance studies for students in 2012-2013 from families affected by the hailstorm in summer,” the minister said.

State school teachers will get their salaries increased by USD 45, while for pupils who have to walk long distance to get to school, the ministry set up a program to provide transport for 190 schools.

A fund of USD 3 million has been established to develop science and increase financing for the national science academy and the agriculture science academy.