09 December, 2010

Interview with Dimitri Shashkin, Minister for Education and Science

Sacking of #173 Tbilisi Public School Administration and assigning of a law-observer as the director of this school, was followed by the protest on the part of some schoolchildren.

According to one version participation of pupils of the school in the protest action at the Parliament served as the reason for the sacking. The first question we asked Minister Dimitri Shashkin was the reason of dismissing #173 school director:
D.SH. – There

are 2200 schools in Georgia and unfortunately not every director is perfect. Some of them should not work at school. This is the result of ill-famed lotto-thon that we have to improve now. It’s true that many good directors were chosen by lotto-thon but unfortunately there were some who had nothing to do with school and educational system at all. Mzia Giorgobiani, #173 School Director was chosen through the same procedure.
Q. – Another school was merged with school #173 and out of the two directors the Ministry gave preference to Mzia Giorgobiani.
D.SH. – Mzia Giorgobiani was appointed the director because the other one had an acting director. #173 is the second largest school in Georgia – there are 2300 pupils there. The last drop that made us make this decision was the fact that in the school with GEL 1 million-budget the heating system wasn’t in order. The director was sacked on the basis of inter-accounting audit carried out by a private company. Due to the revealed infringements the former director addressed the Ministry. The conclusions showed us that there really were problems in the school.

Q. – Was the schoolchildren’s protest organized by the old administration?
D.SH. – The attempt to mess up the teaching process was orchestrated. It seems that somebody decided to test my nerves. I really have no problem in this regard, my nerves are rather tough.

Q. – Could you explain in what context you told the directors that you would drink their blood and extract 20 million from their throat? People have heard the audio version of your declaration.
D.SH. – Beginning from 2011 the sums allotted to school infrastructure will be directly given to school administration for making repairs; those persons who were meant to do this job are either serving their sentence or fled the country because the school gyms were not open by September 15. Due to this I addressed the school directors via TV and figuratively told them that in summer, when they didn’t finish the repair of 32 gyms, they drank my blood. Now we would give the money to them and if everything wasn’t done in the due course, I would drink theirs.

Q. – Your declaration was taken as threat to frighten the directors…
D.SH. – Come on, how many of them can I scare? There are 2200 schools in Georgia. A certain group of people that resorted to demagogy doesn’t care about the rule of law and they prefer chaos to the development of the country. Whatever is done by the Government is unacceptable for them.

Q. – I heard many times that appointing of law-observers made the situation at schools tense.
D.SH. – Law - observer’s service is unacceptable for those who don’t like democracy and only crave for anarchy. Orderliness will always be undesirable for them. If there were no law-observers, a child would have died in one of the schools. A 12th grade pupil stabbed a 10th grade boy and he would have died if there was no law-observer. He was saved and the merit goes to the law-observer.

Q. – When talking with me, one of the politicians said that no European school would let a teacher, who displayed a queer photo-session on TV like Tomas Fletcher, stay at school.
D.SH. – When you saw the photos, did you believe it?

Q. – Do you think it was a photomontage?
D.SH. – We saw who picked up the photos. They were displayed for public observation by politically committed people. It was not done by a pupil, parent or teacher. You can’t believe that only opposition cares about children.

Q. – Some teachers of Zugdidi school who were suspected of giving the opposition the photos showing your meeting with Fletcher were sacked.  
D.SH. – Bring those teachers here and let them talk. Let them say that Fletcher is gay. They also say that the law-observers take away crosses from schoolchildren. They even say that a law-observer didn’t let a pupil take a shot of insulin, he lost consciousness and senior pupils almost beat the observer to death. Please, show me the child who was not allowed to take the shot of insulin.

Q. – Mr. Dimitry, do you want to say that there are people who are disaffected by you?
D.SH. – There are people whom our success doesn’t make happy.

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