At the plenary session of the Parliament of Georgia, held on 13 November 2013, representative of the Parliamentary Minority Sergo Ratiani stated:  “This year, the foreseen five million lari

have not been spent on students but transferred towards a different purpose. The Ministry of Education had an interesting motivation. They had a surplus of five million but refused to spend that sum on funding for students.”

FactCheck

took interest in the MP’s statement and inquired about the accuracy of the indicated facts.

As clarified by Sergo Ratiani, in his statement he was referring to the sub-programme of the Ministry of Education and Science; namely, the State Study Grant. He further asserted that the funds allocated for the State Study Grant had not been fully employed and the remaining GEL five million had been transferred for spending within the framework of a different programme.

Pursuant to the Law on the State Budget, in 2013 the funding for the State Study Grant sub-programme has increased and its amount reached GEL 57.6 million. In 2012, the budget of the sub-programme was defined in the amount of GEL 44.2 million.

The State Study Grant includes:  full or partial scholarships for baccalaureate students upon the basis of Unified Entry Examinations, funding for special vocational educational programmes and free-of-charge faculties.

In accordance with the information received from the Ministry of Education and Science, the government projected an increase of the funding for the free-of-charge faculties within the framework of the State Study Grant. In the period between the end of 2012 and the spring of 2013, the Ministry furthered its work on ascertaining the exact number of beneficiaries and the amount needed for the funding of free-of-charge faculties. According to the Ministry, a surplus of GEL 4.8 million was found in the State Study Grant sub-programme with this amount subsequently administered to other programmes.

  • On the programme – Provision of Secondary School Students with Textbooks – GEL 1.4 million. This programme looks to provide textbooks in public as well as private schools to students from families below the poverty threshold and children of soldiers fallen in the August war of 2008.
  • On the programme – Support for Secondary Education – GEL 3.4 million. This programme foresees transportation to school (by bus, microbus) of those students who live in settlements (villages) where schools are not operating.

The abovementioned fact was confirmed to us by the Deputy Head of the Legal Issues Department at the Ministry of Education and Science, Ekaterine Machitidze.

In his conversation with FactCheck,

Sergo Ratiani noted:  “I welcome the fact that the volume of study grants has grown. However, the funds earmarked for the state study grants could have been fully employed within the framework of the programme and for the benefit of students. More students could have gotten a scholarship with this amount.”

Conclusion

In 2013, the government increased funding for the free-of-charge faculties in the framework of the State Study Grant sub-programme and the amount allotted from the budget for this purpose totalled GEL 57.6 million.

As clarified by the Ministry of Education and Science, the number of the sub-programme’s beneficiaries and the amount required for the funding was finally defined in the spring of 2013 following which a surplus in the amount of GEL 4.8 million was found in the budget of the sub-programme. The indicated sum was not administered in the framework of the sub-programme and has been transferred to be employed for a different purpose (Provision of Secondary School Students with Textbooks – GEL 1.4 million and Support for the Secondary Education – GEL 3.4 million).

Accordingly, we conclude that Sergo Ratiani’s statement, “This year, the foreseen five million lari have not been spent on students but transferred towards a different purpose,” is TRUE.

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