Loading

Draft amendments to the Law of Georgia on Higher Education were discussed at the plenary session of the Parliament on 12 June. Ivane Kighuradze, Chairman of the Education, Science and Culture Committee, stated the following regarding the proposed amendments: "Appointment of an acting rector by the Prime Minister is planned only in a transition period, for a short time, in a limited period. This way the state uses a right of a founder."

Levan Bezhashvili, Member of the Parliamentary Minority, addressed the abovementioned statement: “You said that the appointment of an acting rector by the Prime Minister will be a temporary obligation; however, the bill places this article under the General Provisions, not in the Transitional Provisions. Therefore, it turns out that this will not be a temporary activity, but a rule and when a rector resigns or incompatibility with the position occurs, then an acting rector has always to be appointed by the Prime Minister.”

FactCheck

wondered whether or not the statement by Levan Bezhashvili is true.

Article 7 of the Law of Georgia on Higher Education defines the authorities of the Ministry of Education. According to the abovementioned amendments, one paragraph, namely P7,

is added to the Article which provides that in the case the authority of a rector is terminated, the nominee for the position of an acting rector should be nominated by the Ministry of Education and appointed by the Prime Minister. Besides the fact that the norm belongs to the General Provisions, there is no indication in the bill which states whether or not this will be temporarily in force and then abolished after a specific period of time.

Moreover, according to  Paragraph 12 of Article 21 under the Law of Georgia on Higher Education, the academic council appoints an acting rector. If the proposed amendments are approved, two norms in the Law will regulate the same issue. Due to the fact that paragraph P7 is adopted later, Paragraph 12

of Article 21 will be automatically abolished. As a result, only one rule will remain; namely, the Prime Minister will appoint an acting rector.

Correspondingly, the proposed regulation changes the old rule and establishes a totally new one. No single article in the bill indicates that the similar activity is temporary and will be automatically abolished after a particular period of time. All of these imply that only a new legislative amendment can change the current rule. If the similar amendment is not implemented, then the Prime Minister will always have to appoint an acting rector in case of a rector’s resignation and incompatibility with the position.

Conclusion

The Prime Minister’s authority to appoint a rector of the state university does not belong to the Transitional Provisions under the Law of Georgia on Higher Education. Reference regarding the temporary nature of the mentioned activity is not indicated in the bill. In the case of the enactment of this amendment, it will remain as a rule until the Parliament abolishes this article through proposing a  new legislative amendment or establishing a new regulation.

Accordingly, we rate the statement by Levan Bezhashvili: “Appointment of a rector by the Prime Minister is not a temporary activity, but a rule and the Prime Minister has to appoint an acting rector in all cases” as TRUE.