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On 27 November 2015 at a meeting of the Government of Georgia, Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili directed attention to the issue of teacher salaries. According to the Prime Minister, the average salary for a public school teacher will be GEL 600-700 from the beginning of April 2016. Mr Gharibashvili stated: "After healthcare, the largest amount of financial resources will be allocated for education."

FactCheck

verified the accuracy of the Prime Minister’s statement.

According to the draft budget of 2016, the budget of the Ministry of Labour, Health and Social Affairs is GEL 3.2 billion and the budget of the Ministry of Education and Science is GEL 975 million. The budget of the Ministry of Education and Science increased by 15.9% as compared to the previous year. After the budget of the Ministry of Labour, Health and Social Affairs, the budget of the Ministry of Education and Science is indeed the largest one. It is followed by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Regional Development with a budget of GEL 950 million and the Ministry of Defence with a budget of GEL 670 million.

According to the draft budget of 2016, the budget lines for the Ministry of Education and Science are further divided into seven sub-budget lines. It is interesting to see how the Ministry’s budget looks according to the sub-budget lines.

The sub-budget line for labour remuneration is GEL 26.7 million. The sub-budget line for the creation of state policy in the fields of education and science and programme management is approximately GEL 16 million. In 2016, general education will be funded by GEL 572.7 million, vocational education will be funded by GEL 35.8 million and higher education will be funded by GEL 106.6 million. Additionally, in 2016, GEL 66.7 million will be allocated to support science and scientific research.

Additionally, GEL 25.3 million will be allocated to provide educational establishments and students with information communications technologies whilst GEL 82.8 million will be spent within the framework of the Millennium Challenge Georgia.

According to the draft budget of 2016, the following sub-budget lines for the Ministry of Education and Science’s budget will be increased as follows:

Table 1: 

Changes to the Budget of the Ministry of Education and Science as Compared to 2015

Labour Remuneration Policy Creation General Education Vocational Education Higher Education Research Information Communications Technologies Millennium Challenge Georgia
GEL 1.2 Million - GEL 493,300 GEL 79.8 Million GEL 4.2 Million GEL 12.1 Million GEL 4.7 Million - GEL 1.5 Million GEL 33.9 Million
4.6% - 2.9 % 16.1% 13% 12.7% 16.7% - 1.5% 69.4%
Source: State Budget of Georgia

As illustrated in the table, the 2016 budget for the Ministry of Education and Science sees only two of its sub-budget lines having their amounts decreased as compared to 2015.

In this context, it is also interesting to see the allocation of budget resources under the previous government, specifically in 2012. As of 2012, the budget for the Ministry of Education and Science was GEL 595 million. At that amount, the Ministry of Education and Science was lagging behind the Ministry of Labour, Health and Social Affairs (GEL 1,772 million), the Ministry of Infrastructure and Regional Development (GEL 960.3 million) and the Ministry of Defence (GEL 675.7 million).

In 2012, money allocated for labour remuneration was GEL 21.5 million. Funds allocated for general education amounted to GEL 372.3 million whilst vocational education and higher education in tandem with the scientific research programme were funded by GEL 15 million and GEL 124.2 million, respectively. Additionally, GEL 71.5 million was allocated for the development of the infrastructure of educational establishments.

According to the draft budget of 2016, the budget for the Ministry of Education and Science was increased by approximately 64% as compared to 2012. Thus, the amount of money envisaged by the Ministry of Education and Science’s sub-budget lines increased as well (with the exception of two sub-budget lines). Additionally, of note is that the 2012 budget of the Ministry of Education and Science was increased by 27.9% (GEL 129.8 million) as compared to its budget in 2008. In turn, the 2008 budget of the Ministry of Education and Science was increased by 751.5% (GEL 410.5 million) as compared to 2004.

Conclusion

According to the draft state budget of 2016, the budget of the Ministry of Education and Science is GEL 975 million. At that amount, it only lags behind the budget (GEL 3.2 billion) of the Ministry of Labour, Health and Social Affairs. Additionally, the budget of the Ministry of Education and Science increased by almost 64% as compared to 2012 and with this amount moved from the fourth place to second place among the other ministries in terms of funding.

Therefore, FactCheck concludes that the Prime Minister’s statement is TRUE.