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On 12 October 2015, at the State Chancellery, the Prime Minister of Georgia, Irakli Gharibashvili, met with students who had their studies abroad funded by the Centre created by the Prime Minister. During his conversation with programme alumni, the Prime Minister stated: "The International Education Centre has funded the studies of over 200 students for the past two years." According to Mr Gharibashvili’s explanation, work to increase the number of funded students every year is currently on-going. In addition, the state has put an obligation upon itself to employ programme alumni in state institutions.

FactCheck

took interest in the Prime Minister’s statement and decided to look into it.

FactCheck wrote about the International Education Centre earlier as well (see links: Article 1 and Article 2).

The International Education Centre was founded on 15 May 2014 on the initiative of the Prime Minister of Georgia. The Centre was created based upon the Gate to Education Programme of the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia. The Centre’s main goal is to facilitate the training of students according to international standards, taking into account the country’s priority areas. It also aims to help disabled people and those citizens of Georgia living in the occupied territories or other regions of the country to receive a foreign education.

The International Education Centre has three sub-programmes:

  • Master’s and PhD sub-programme
  • Sub-programme for the Improvement of the Qualification and Vocational Training of Civil Servants
  • Sub-programme for Inviting Academic Personnel, Researchers and Practitioners to Georgia
In terms of these sub-programmes, the International Education Centre funded 77 applicants in 2014 and 115 applications in 2015.

It should be pointed out, however, that the International Education Centre funds the tuition fee for only one academic year. In the case of a two-year Master’s or PhD programme, the student must address the Centre for a second time in order to get funding for the following academic year. After presenting appropriate documentation (grade transcripts, references and so on), the Centre’s Commission considers the second application and makes a new decision upon whether or not to continue funding the student.

Of the 115 applicants funded in 2015, 40 received funding for their studies in 2014 and addressed the Centre again for funds for the following 2015 academic year. In total, the state has funded the studies of 152 students (192 applications) at foreign universities over the past two years.

Conclusion

The International Education Centre was founded in 2014. The Centre funded 77 applicants in 2014 and 115 applications in 2015. Approximately 40 of these 115 students who went to study abroad for two-year Master’s or PhD programmes with Centre funding reapplied for continued funding after completing their first academic year and were re-awarded. In total, the state has funded the studies of 152 students (192 applications) at foreign universities over the past two years.

Hence, FactCheck concludes that Irakli Gharibashvili’s statement is MOSTLY TRUE.

Editor’s Note: The initial version of this article was published on 29 October 2015. After publishing this article, we were contacted by a reader who asked us to clarify if those students who went abroad for two-year Master’s or PhD programmes with International Education Centre funding and received second-year funding for their studies were included within the tally of those funded overall in 2015. It turned out that 40 of the 115 students funded in 2015 did receive a second year of funding for their studies at foreign universities. Taking this information into account, the article was corrected with FactCheck’s verdict changing as well. Instead of TRUE, we assessed Irakli Gharibashvili’s statement to be MOSTLY TRUE.