In the last two years, the number of students enrolled in professional education establishments increased by 20%
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The Prime Minister of Georgia, Giorgi Kvirikashvili, spoke about professional education during his visit to the Parliament of Georgia. The Prime Minister stated: “In the last two years, important steps have been taken to reduce the unhealthy proportion between the number of students enrolled in higher education establishments and those in professional education establishments. This led to the number of students enrolled in professional education having increased by 20%.”

FactCheck took interest in the accuracy of the statement.

Reform in public education has been ongoing since 2007. At the initial phase of the reform, the Parliament of Georgia adopted a Law on Professional Education.

The Professional Education Development Strategy for 2013-2016 was drafted in 2013 within the activities of technical assistance provided to Georgia by the European Union. The specific aim of this strategy is to elaborate a flexible professional education network adequate to labour market demands which will ensure the development of high-level competencies for economically active members of the population as well as provide training to develop competitive employees for both the local and international labour markets.

At the present moment there are 68 professional education establishments in Georgia. Of these, 17 are authorised state public/professional colleges, six are colleges founded with state participation and 45 are authorised private/public colleges.

The number of students enrolled in professional educational establishments in the last years is as follows:

 

Table 1: Number of Students Enrolled in Professional Education Establishments in 2013-2017

Year Private Colleges State Colleges Total Enrolled
2013 8,263 11,586 19,849
2014 6,332 9,361 15,693
2015 5,271 10,276 15,547
2016 4,592 10,998 15,590
2017 4,090 10,736 14,826

Source: Ministry of Education and Science

 

As illustrated by the table, the highest number of students enrolled in professional education establishments was in 2013. In the following years, this number has been more or less stable. There is, however, a trend of decline in enrolment in private professional education establishments which is probably owing to the legislation mandating that a student can use a tuition voucher only when enrolling in a state professional education establishment.

The number of students enrolled in professional educational establishments showed a slight increase in 2016 by  43 students which constitutes 0.3%. In 2017, the number of students enrolled in these establishments decreased by 764 students or 4.9%.

As the Prime Minister emphasised the misbalance between professional and higher education establishments, FactCheck took interest in the number of students enrolled in higher education establishments during the last years.

 

Table 2: Number of Students Enrolled in Higher Education Establishments in 2013-2017

Year Private State Total
2013 8,699 20,169 28,868
2014 8,096 19,044 27,140
2015 9,798 18,649 28,447
2016 9,738 18,252 27,990
2017 9,786 18,420 28,206

Source: National Centre for Educational Quality Enhancement

 

In terms of the misbalance between the number of students enrolled in professional education establishments and those in higher education establishments in 2013, there was 18% more students enrolled in higher education establishments (59% as compared to 41% in professional education establishments). In 2016, the misbalance was at 28% (64% – 36%) and in 2017 it was at 32% (66% – 34%).

Despite the ongoing reform in the field of professional education, the unequal division of students between professional education establishments and higher education establishments highlights the fact that this kind of education remains less attractive and interesting for prospective students.

Of further note is that the funding allocated for professional education has been growing in the last years:

 

Table 3: Funding for Professional Education in 2013-2018 (GEL million)

Year 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Budget 9.5 15 22 26.5 29.6 40.8

 

As illustrated by the table, the professional education budget (planned amount) increased by GEL 11.2 million as compared to the previous year.

 

Conclusion

The highest number of students enrolled in professional education establishments (19,849) was registered in 2013. In 2016, the number of students enrolled in professional education establishments increased marginally  by 43 students as compared to the previous year. In 2017, the number of students enrolled in professional education establishments decreased by 764 or 4.9%.

In terms of the misbalance between the numbers of students enrolled in professional education establishments and higher education establishments, the smallest difference at 18% was registered in 2013. In the last two years, the misbalance between the numbers of students enrolled in professional education establishments and higher education establishments increased from 28% to 32%.

In spite of ongoing reforms and the growing amount of funds for professional education, it is still less attractive for prospective students.

FactCheck concludes that Giorgi Kvirikashvili’s statement is a LIE.

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