Commenting on the 2014 state budget at the plenary session of the Georgian Parliament held on 14 November, Parliamentary Minority member, Sergo Ratiani, stated: “This year [2014], there will be no increase in the salaries of teachers. The funding for academic research and grants will be reduced by about GEL 10 million. University funding will slashed by 10.5 million and considering the last year’s decrease of 7.5 million, the universities will be deprived of a total of 18 million since your government’s coming to power.”

FactCheck

decided to check the accuracy of Sergo Ratiani’s statement.

The abovementioned statement of the MP was made during the discussion of the second draft of the 2014 state budget presented to the Parliament. While we were working on this article, the Ministry of Finance elaborated the draft budget and submitted its third, revised version to the Parliament. Naturally, we are checking Ratiani’s statement in respect to the second version of the draft budget. However, we will also explore whether or not his comments were paid due attention.

As we were notified at the Ministry of Education and Science, the salaries to secondary school teachers are issued from the sums allocated for the voucher-based funding of secondary schools. The sum earmarked for the relevant article of the 2014 draft budget is identical to the amount allocated in the last year. It follows, therefore, that the budget of the next year indeed foresees no additional funds for the growth of teachers’ salaries.

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As for the funding of research and grants, the amount allocated for this purpose in the second draft budget of 2014 indeed saw a decrease of up to GEL 10 million. However, due to the heavy criticism voiced in the Parliament, the funding for this article was revised in the final version of the draft budget.

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In the final version of the 2014 draft budget the amount envisaged for the issuance of scientific grants and for the support of scientific researches amounts to GEL 23,227,000, which falls behind the last year’s indicator by GEL 1,763,000.

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Sergo Ratiani also spoke about the state funding allocated to higher educational institutions in the 2014 draft state budget; in particular, he spoke about a specific line of the budget concerning the programme funding higher educational institutions. According to the state budget of 2013, the abovementioned programme aimed at the accessibility and openness of education, academic freedom of teaching, learning and research, participation of academic staff and students in decision-making processes and evaluation of the implementation of these processes, preparation of individuals to use scientific knowledge and research methods. The programme provided funding for professional development of personnel of higher educational institutions, international cooperation, exchange of academic staff with the relevant foreign academic institutions, rehabilitation of the material basis of institutions, providing state-of-the-art equipment and technology for higher educational institutions.

Supporting higher educational institutions (32 04 01)
Unit implementing the sub-programme Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia
Description and objectives of the sub-programme Openness and accessibility of higher education, academic freedom of teaching, learning and research, opportunity for lifelong learning education, participation of academic staff and students in decision-making processes and evaluation of the performance of these processes, preparation of individuals to use scientific knowledge and research methods.The sub-programme supports:a) Professional development of personnel of higher educational institutionsb) Exchange of academic staff with the relevant foreign academic institutionsc) Rehabilitation of the material basis of institutions, providing state-of-the-art equipment and technology for higher educational institutions
Expected mid-term outcomes
Assessment indicators for expected mid-term outcomes
  1. Equipment of higher educational institutions with the appropriate material-technical basis
  2. Number of higher educational institutions actively involved in research activities
  3. Number of alumni number of higher educational institutions trained in accordance to international standards

A total of GEL 18,030, 000 was provided for this purpose in 2012 while this amount was less in 2013 by GEL 7.5 million and equalled GEL 10,500,000. The 2014 budget does not anticipate funding for this programme despite the fact that it increases funding for certain directions of education.

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Conclusion

The voucher-based funding for secondary education allocated in the 2014 state budget is identical to the last year’s indicator. This confirms that the growth of teachers’ salaries is not envisaged for the next year.

As for funding for research, the second version of the 2014 budget draft, which was discussed by Ratiani, indeed showed about GEL 10 million decrease in this respect. However, due to the high criticism voiced in the Parliament, this issue has been revised in the final version of the draft and GEL 23,227,000 has been allocated for this purpose; this amount is less than that of last year by GEL 1,763,000.

The 2014 budget does no more envisages the funding of the programme supporting higher educational institutions, for which a total of GEL 18,030,000 was allocated in 2012 and 7.5 million less, GEL 10,500,000 -  in 2013.

Therefore, having verified the accuracy of Sergo Ratiani’s statement in the budget draft, FactCheck concludes that the MP’s statement: “This year [2014], there will be no increase in the salaries of teachers. The funding for academic research and grants will be reduced by about GEL 10 million. University funding will slashed by 10.5 million and considering the last year’s decrease of 7.5 million, the universities will be deprived of a total of 18 million since your government’s coming to power,” is TRUE.

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