Mikheil Saakashvili addressed the students and briefed them about new initiatives
I wanted to meet you as I delivered an address before Parliament few days ago and wanted to discuss it with you.
When addressing the parliamentarians I said that there is a battle between mentalities today in Georgia, the mental revolution is on.
The Rose Revolution was not only about waving flags. Several countries took our example and revolutions happened in many other countries, but it is one thing when you come out to the streets and wave flags and another, what happens afterwards.
Georgia is the one country where the mentality has changed and foreigners have recognized this.
This is a huge leap forward.
In terms of the development level, public relations and the interaction of government with the people our country was laggard, in fact, it was on the level of third world countries – with the highest rate of corruption, criminal and cynicism, poverty and lack of perspective.
The level of our economic growth prior to the war and crisis was above 10 percent on average. We had a 3 percent drop after the crisis. We again increased this indicator by 7 percent afterwards and when the world will come out of “knockdown”, our economic growth indicator will go up to double digits -10 percent again.
I have been to the oil producing countries, where the citizens are indulged with every benefit. They have the best houses and cars, spend 4-5 months abroad, have their education guaranteed too…I have often thought, if we only had their weekly income, we would build Lazika within a year.
What is the long-term perspective of my nation? Much less than that of people living in Singapore, South Korea and Hong-Kong. Each of these countries creates innovations and this is our starting point as well.
We are faced with huge challenges. A single day will not pass for the old or a new president of our northern neighbor to talk about Georgia…Of course the economic crisis threatens us. The hike in oil prices affects us significantly as well. I believe this is a huge challenge.
On the other hand, the fact that reforms are carried out in Georgia, is also the result of us constantly facing the vital challenges.
We need to be very tough – We fought for centuries in order to exist. We have a state now. The last chance we had like this was in the time of David the Builder.
The principal thing that the conqueror could not imagine was that anyone could create a state in Caucasus.
Georgians had traditionally been successful. Alaverd Undalidze had built Isfahan. They prevailed in every battle of Shah Abas, who exiled half of the population to Pereidan. Precisely Georgians were the main striking force for him. The Shah’s historian wrote: “Georgians are the best builders and fighters. These are the people who will never find common ground amongst themselves”.
What Shahabas could not do to us, the Russian Empire inflicted on us. Javakheti was the trade, economic and cultural center in the 19th century. First, the Russian empire exiled the population of Javakheti.
Then it was Abkhazia and Georgians in Abkhazia and its multi-ethnic integrity. It hit us the hardest in Abkhazia, where about 500,000 people were displaced, just as we tried to stand on our feet; it hit us right where the new Georgia could have been born.
One of the leaders of the opposition party in Russia said few days ago: “We need to be guided by the examples of successful countries – starting from Singapore ending with Georgia; starting from Georgia ending with Hong-Kong”.
This as well is not my PR, is it?
When we tested our battle vehicle “Lazika”, they immediately started to say that the American and British ones were better…are you not surprised that we have built it in the first place? Who would have imagined that our engineers with Georgian schemes, without the help of others would create the chain vehicle? We will test the artillery on polygon tomorrow.
For us it is important for the political class in Georgia to be substituted in a way that the ensuing alternative is not corrupt, is not a carrier of the old mentality, but rather a new one, for which clean politics is an ordinary thing.
A young man is not idle today. With the new program, 25 thousand students will be employed in summer – they will work for a month and will get 500 GEL.
We have founded a new, very good tourist college. Students are taking up everything new with great enthusiasm. We have asked the owners of the hotels if they wanted to take these students as interns. It should be in their interest. We want for their business to develop. If not in two years, we will surely have 5 million tourists in 5 years, will we not? Especially when the youth has understood that they need to raise their qualifications and work.
There is a school of leaders; we have technical schools, professional schools. Based on our forecast, there will be so much demand in Georgia in three years that no one will want to go anywhere. There will be so many jobs created soon that we will have a shortage of qualified specialists and labor force. We are already working on this.
There will be English, computer and professional trainings held in about 20 cities of Georgia towards the fall. There will be over 20,000 people trained in total across Georgia who will have an opportunity to expand their knowledge, acquire a new profession and find employment within the frames of the program.
The 15-16 year old youngster says often that he doesn’t know what he wants to do in life. This should end – everyone should know what they want.
The technical subjects have already come forth significantly. I am happy that the specialists of physics have made samples of new tools. What is notable for me is that the technological manufacture can be assembled in Georgia. I would like us to work in this direction.
We are significantly increasing the abroad study programs starting from next year. You, probably know that we are mostly financing technical faculties, but we will allow quotas for the best students in the humanitarian faculties, in order for them to also have opportunities. We will finance at minimum of 5-6 thousand Georgian youngsters next year, who will receive invitations from summer schools, with travel and everything, that will not be financed by the school. I urge everyone to go and study in the summer schools. We want the maximum number of people to go for temporary studies. This is very important.
Besides this, we need to invite many foreign pedagogues, so that we learn foreign language. We have opened so many medical facilities, so many hospitals and it is impossible to catch up with the new technologies if in additional to all, you do not speak a foreign language. Even if we start translating manuals, we will not have it finished, when this or that technology will be outdated. That is why it is impossible to work today without the knowledge of foreign languages.
The student should always study and develop. We should also develop the medical tourism.
Our teachers have many pluses as well, but the teachers that we invited from America and other countries, have shown them many things afresh, from different angles.
That is why we allowed quotas in our universities, because there have to be many foreign professors in Georgia.
For instance, the first part of Batumi Technological University will open this year. We are constructing the best building. This is very important for me and the best three American universities are to come, from which we will chose one to cooperate with. And the first truly full-fledged, American, highest class technological university will fully start functioning next in Batumi, which will serve all of Georgia and will have a regional meaning. Against the background of having opened technical schools together with Americans and the countries of the EU; of having brought forth other schools; of introducing foreign languages like in no other post soviet country – The Batumi Technological University will be the crown of it all.
For its part, this will be a genuine breakthrough for our educational system.
Thank you very much for coming.