The President of Georgia addressed the participants of the Young Scientists’ and Inventors’ Olympiad
Georgia is an outstanding country in the region in terms of education.
We have made several significant changes in the sphere of education in the past years.
The first thing we have managed, which still remains a big problem across the post-soviet space, is that we have overcome corruption in the education system.
Corruption in this system meant that the students while applying to higher educational institutions were not on the equal footing.
There was a gradation in class but all of that is in the past now.
The application to universities in Georgia is based on the principle of equality today.
The second significant thing that we have carried out relates to the introduction of new technologies in schools.
We are one among those rare countries, and I believe the only country in our region, that has carried out the computerization of schools and allocated one computer per each person.
Similarly, I believe we are the only country in our region that has invited several thousand English pedagogues in order to learn the English language.
Hence, based on the 2015 modernization plan, 90 percent of Georgian youth will speak English fluently in a few years, which means that they will speak the modern language of information.
Precisely this differentiates them from the modernization of absolutely all other countries of the region.
This has a vital importance for Georgia.
Of course, we have to preserve Russian and other foreign languages, but our main objective is to know the language with which we can get the most information.
We have managed to bring the internet to all Georgian schools – we have carried out the same program that Estonians have and here it was called a “deer’s leap”.
We are moving on to the next stage now and are introducing technologies.
It means that several dozen technological colleges and professional-technical learning facilities are being opened in Georgia.
We are opening an American technological university in Batumi this year and personally for me, as for the President of Georgia, it is a major project.
I believe that we have all seen well that Georgians have the ability to introduce new technologies in Georgia – we have been exposed to it by poverty.
In 2008, in the period when Georgia was threatened the most, we had difficulties with buying weaponry as a result of different manipulations.
Our engineers then started the 100 percent Georgian production of weaponry and have created an artillery system, flying technology, armored transporters, infantry fighting vehicles, anti tank arms…
I know that it is unpopular to talk about arms, but it was very important for us then, first of all, so that everyone would see – Georgia had not disappeared from the map and continued development; and second – this was a good lesson for us, as we have understood that we can create technologies ourselves.
Israel, Singapore and several other countries that were in similar circumstances had exactly the same kind of experience.
We have shown that we had a basis for the country to build business airplanes and other abovementioned technologies.
It is only a beginning of what we want to make.
Our wish is to turn Georgia into the center of the whole region and on an international scale; we want to be the exporters of technologies, we are becoming a type of a “hub” in terms of tourism, financial transactions, infrastructure, energy and logistics, but my major ambition is for Georgia to become a center of knowledge.
We want everything unique to be created here not only for us and our region, but for the whole world. This will only be possible if our wish is based on education and innovation.
What we have created is based on the already existing knowledge and engineering expertise, our human resources and simply on their proper reorganization.
Things that will have to be created in the future, will be based on the knowledge of those who are currently receiving this knowledge in Georgia, and the world in general, those who study today and take part in Olympiads; those who go to the first grade today, get their first laptops and start learning foreign languages.
Those who are engaged in this system today are being raised properly, are getting proper information, education and a chance for a better future within the principle of equality.
These children are not constrained by different stereotypes and other restraints.
That is why the inventors’ Olympiad as well as other projects we are planning, is so important for Georgia.
That is why your activities are of utmost importance.
Children of few dozen countries have arrived here to compete with each other in the most honorable thing – invention of something new.
I have told you that we started everything from arms, but the arms are the means for destruction, or the means to prevent the destruction.
Our end goal is to create means for reconstruction.
We need to create new, special construction technologies;
We need to create new means of movement.
We need to bring in innovations in medicine as well, as it is very important.
For instance, an entirely new medical sector has been created here in Georgia and our ambition is to have one of the best healthcare systems in Europe.
To achieve this is only possible with innovations.
We cannot be simply satisfied by the technologies imported from France, Germany, the U.S. and Korea.
You have to do it as well, as it is the most honorable job.
Increasingly more students are coming to study in our university, which means that the level of education in universities is increasing. It is very important.
We are already planning to carry out programs in African countries; we are starting this in Latin American, Asian, as well as neighboring countries.
The Batumi Technological University is entirely intended for our neighbors.
Besides this, we are actively working with the EU to create an European college in Batumi, where the students from whole region will attend, including Russia, Ukraine, Central Asia, Caucasus and Eastern European countries.
It is very simple to do it in Georgia, as the representatives of these countries can come to Georgia without visas.
Thus, we will do everything for Georgia to become a regional center of education, science and innovations.
We have already achieved that in terms of reforms, yet Georgia should become the same kind of world-wide center in the future, as for instance, Singapore is today.
As for the education system, there are a few more issues which we are working on now.
Among these, one of the main issues is the system of state grants.
Successful students receive 100 percents grants, some are only financed partially, and there are also those who are not able to receive financing.
This again is based on the equality principle – a person applies and gets financing based on the received points.
What happens when a student cannot perform well on the state university entry exams for different reasons, but then studies excellently? According to today’s system, he still has to pay the tuition fee for the four years of his study.
Because of that, I refer to the university rectors: Let us elaborate a state university program (we have no jurisdiction in the private universities on that matter) and promote those students who might not get the sufficient points at the state university entry exams, but are successful in their studies. We should give them a chance to get financing as well.
Meritocracy means that the best will receive financing, while the weak – cannot. Yet, I believe that everyone should have a chance to get stronger.
That is why we have to surely elaborate this system.
Besides this, we have started a new program, which envisages introduction of student cards.
I have already tasked the our officials to ensure that the holders of these cards enjoy 50 percent discount on Georgian railway or other transports and to have discounts at the supermarkets as well, in buying a books or while getting different services.
The Georgian student card will be a means to ease the life of a student.
We need a much more flexible financing system and more opportunities to assist students even better.
This is one of our programming issues as well.
I would like to wish you success in your honorable job. I had such inventions in previous years that I was stunned.
I hope that you will be much better and stronger than we are.