On 14 September 2015, the Prime Minister of Georgia, Irakli Gharibashvili, congratulated teachers and pupils upon the start of the new academic year and underlined that before the Georgian Dream’s coming to power, the education budget was GEL 640 million whilst it reached GEL 900 million in 2015. The Prime Minister stated: “The budget of the Ministry of Education and Science has increased by more than 50%. Additionally, teacher salaries have also increased.” Mr Gharibashvili added that there are plans to increase salaries in the next year as well which would be an additional incentive for teachers.
FactCheck took interest in the Prime Minister’s statement and verified its accuracy.
In order to compare the budgets of the Ministry of Education and Science and their growth rate, FactCheck studied the data of the Ministry of Education and Science in the period of 2006-2015.
Table 1: Budget of the Ministry of Education and Science (GEL million) and its Growth Rate
Source: State Budget of Georgia
As illustrated by the table, the Ministry of Education and Science’s budget has been rising annually. The lowest growth rate, at 4.5%, was registered in 2011 whilst the highest growth rate, at 17%, was registered in 2009. The Ministry‘s 2015 budget is 31% larger as compared to 2012. According to the 2016 state budget, GEL 984.7 million will be allocated for the Ministry’s budget. This number exceeds that of its 2012 budget by 53.6%. Since 2013, the Ministry of Education and Science has initiated the free school textbooks programme for which the state budget allocated GEL 16,323,630 in 2013 and GEL 13,216,000 in 2014. As of today, GEL 5,134,432 has already been spent on the programme.
In regard to salaries of public school teachers, FactCheck has already written about this issue (see links: article 1, article 2). At the end of 2013, teacher salaries increased by 26%-59% according to the categories of teachers. There were no changes in teacher salaries throughout 2014 which caused teacher dissatisfaction. As a result, the Minister of Education and Science, Tamar Sanikidze, stated that teachers would get increased pay starting from September 2015. The explanatory note of the 2015 budget indicated that for the new academic year, base salaries for all teachers would increase by GEL 50 and salaries for different categories of teachers would increase by GEL 100-200.
This year, Minister Sanikidzeclarified that the new salary plan was launched on 14 September 2015. The plan envisagesa 34% increase of the base teacher salary for the second time and, in total, for the 2015-2016 academic year. Salary bonuses will be GEL 180, GEL 200 or GEL 300 based upon the category of the teacher.
According to the decree of the Minister of Education and Science issued on 28 September 2015, base teacher salaries increased by 16.4% (GEL 50) and reached GEL 355.
The Ministry of Education and Science’s 2015 budget is GEL 840.8 million which is 31% more than its 2012 budget and will exceed the number in 2012 by 55.6% according to the 2016 budget projection. Of note, too, is the fact that the Ministry’s budget has been constantly on the rise and 2015 was no exception in this regard. The budget has been gradually increased for three consecutive years and, therefore, obviously exceeds the one from three years ago. In regard to salaries, from 14 September 2015, according to the new salary plan, public school teachers will see an increase in their salaries in two phases and by 34% in an overall total. The first phase will see an increase of base salaries by 16% (GEL 50). Bonuses for certain categories of teachers have increased as well.
FactCheck concludes that the Prime Minister’s statement is TRUE.