The IBSU Conundrum
25 August, 2018
The IBSU Conundrum
Teachers, students and students-to-be all took to the streets when the news broke that the International Black Sea University, one of the most highly regarded universities in the country, wouldn’t be admitting new students into its ranks this year. The Authorization Council for General Educational Institutions, a body that makes decisions on the authorization of general educational institutions, has slapped the IBSU with what would be an equivalent of a transfer ban in FIFA’s terms – the University is prohibited from
accepting new students for one year. The decision of the Council (comprised of a board of members appointed by the Prime Minister of Georgia) was apparently a response to an ongoing financial dispute the government and the learning institution have been involved in for some years now. And while on the surface it seems to be a simple “Do bad things and bad things will happen to you” scenario, the reality is far more complex.

According to the board, the debts that the university has might pose significant risks to the teaching process.

“The University has unpaid debts worth 700,000 GEL that it hasn’t paid to the government, in relation to that, all its movable and immovable properties have been frozen, as a penalty to avoiding the payment obliged by Georgian legislation, reads the Council’s statement. The Council Chariman, David Afrasidze, also wasted little time in taking a swipe at the IBSU administration, branding them irresponsible “in managing financial and material resources.”

It all looks quite grim – an unpaid debt, frozen assets and a seemingly irresponsible administrative body – from this perspective, the Council might even have been surprisingly lenient, contending with only a one-year ban. Strangely, though, the very same council granted authorization to the university for another six years after an expert group, chaired by a UK specialist, presented its assessment of the education and logistic standards at IBSU. It gets even stranger when you look at what the other side has to say – The Head of the Quality Enhancement Department at IBSU, Diana Mchedlishvili, noted that the sum in question is not related to the university’s academic programming and has been in dispute since 2013. Furthermore, the IBSU administration claims it has no qualms about paying off “the debt” if the ongoing court process is against them. So, effectively, the government punished them for a crime they are not yet convicted of and one might construe it as a means to influence the ongoing legal dispute and strong-arm the institution into paying. Additionally, despite the seizure of its assets, there is no question that the university has been successfully able to continue the teaching process with the existing students (to which an absolute majority of said students affirm) and would without problems handle a new contingent. However, the “ban” will incur around GEL 3 mln loss to the university, which, if anything, would complicate the matter of paying the initial debt in the first place. This, coupled with the fact that it was granted a 6-year authorization, is why the University finds the Council’s decision both unjust and illogical. And entirely illegal too. The administration posted a statement on their website in response to the Authorization Council’s decision:

“The authorization board has unlawfully denied the International Black Sea University the right to receive a new contingent of students for a one year period...

By the decision of the Authorization Board of Higher Educational Institutions on 20 August 2018, the International Black Sea University was granted authorization for six years. At the same time, the Board made a totally illogical and incompatible decision that contradicts the experts’ conclusion; it ignores the positive conclusion of experts and the University is forced to stop accepting new students until August 20, 2019. As a result, up to 800 students' choices to study at the International Black Sea University have been ignored and the Board has compelled them to apply to other higher educational institutions. The decision constitutes a threat to students’ legal preferences during two academic years...

“The irresponsible decision of the authorization board hinders the development of one of the leading and internationally recognized universities in Georgia...We apply to NGOs and international organizations, diplomatic corps and civil society to support the International Black Sea University in its fight against injustice. We refer to the Government of Georgia to take appropriate measures in order to prevent the damaging of the country’s international reputation, democratic values, freedom of entrepreneurial activity and to protect the educational sphere from unhealthy influences.”

And this is still not all: the conundrum is further complicated by loudly whispered speculation that external influences are behind the government body’s decision – The Erdogan government considers IBSU a terrorist organization, with Gulen links, and the Ambassador of Turkey in a recent interview said just as much, branding its rector “a terrorist who lives in Georgia” for good measure. So far, IBSU has spawned no terrorists or extremists of any sort, yet the Ankara-backed narrative has managed to achieve the closure of similar institutions, the Demirel College chief among them, in the past. Whether this too is a case of political strong-arming, time will show and soon, but the whispers are growing louder.

Related stories:




Print
Other Stories
Adam Kinzinger: I Strongly Support Georgia's Immediate NATO Membership
Congressman Adam Kinzinger, Chairman of the Georgian Caucus of Congress, is one of the main authors of critical letters received by the Georgian government in recent months.
Matthew Bryza: "I think it’s a shame if Georgia doesn’t participate in this digital hub project"
Matthew Bryza worries new telecommunications law targets Caucasus Online and will block major investments that could make Georgia the strategic center of a “digital silk road”
Czech Ambassador: “Georgia among the best countries worldwide when it comes to combating Covid 19”
"Czech contribution in monitoring COVID-19 in Georgia was invaluable and hugely important” - Georgia’s Health Minister Ekaterine Tikaradze praised the Czech Republic’s contribution during Friday meeting with the Ambassador of the Czech Republic to Georgia, H.E. Petr Mikyska as the Georgian and Czech sides met to discuss various aspects of joint collaboration.
Russian MFA Statement About Lugar Research Center-Another Disinformation
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia responds to the statement of the Russian Foreign Ministry regarding Lugar's laboratory.
UN Human Rights Council Adopts Resolution On Occupied Territories Of Georgia
The UN Human Rights Council adopted a resolution on the occupied territories of Georgia - "Cooperation with Georgia" within the framework of its 43rd session.
Kurt Volker about 20th of June: People Can’t Forget That
Given that one year has passed since June 20, 2019, it is interesting to see how the West assesses the developments in Georgia during this one year and what expectations it has for the October parliamentary elections.
Eastern Partnership Beyond 2020- Context and Expectations
The Eastern Partnership (EaP) marked its 10th anniversary in 2019. The round dates always come with reflections and new resolutions for the future.
"8 March Agreement Is Very important For Georgian Democracy"-Carl Hartzell
The 8th March agreement concerned not only the change in the electoral system but justice and the impermissibility of political partiality in electoral processes, - stated the Ambassador of the European Union to Georgia, Carl Hartzell during his video broadcast.
Donald Trump Congratulates Georgia on Independence Day
The President of the United States of America Donald Trump sent a letter of congratulations to the Prime Minister of Georgia Giorgi Gakharia on Independence Day.
US Ambassador Congratulating Georgia on the Independence Day
US Ambassador to Georgia Kelly Degnan has congratulated Georgia on the Independence Day.
Georgia's President Warns Covid-19 Crisis Could Trigger Russian Aggression
Georgia’s president has warned that Russia’s struggle to contain the spread of coronavirus and an economic crisis compounded by an oil price collapse risk is triggering new Kremlin aggression beyond its borders, - reads an article published by Financial Times.
Creation of Maps Violating Georgia's Territorial Integrity To be Considered Illegal
Production, advertising, use, and transportation of maps and other objects reflecting the violation of the principle of territorial integrity of Georgia will be considered as an illegal act.
Turkey Starts Accepting Health Tourists From Georgia
Turkey has started accepting foreign patients from several countries, including from Georgia.
Georgia Has The Greatest Support In the World From EU-Carl Hartzell
A true friend is known to be in trouble, and we have proved that we are true friends, ”-EU Ambassador to Georgia Carl Hartzel said during an online meeting with members of the European Business Association.
The EU Council Has Approved a Package of Financial Assistance to Georgia
The Council of the European Union (EU) has approved a package of emergency macro-financial assistance for 10 countries as part of its Neighborhood and Enlargement Policy.
The US Ambassador Stresses The Importance of Fair Judiciary System
We would like to see more American companies invest in Georgia and more Georgian companies in the United States said US Ambassador Kelly Degnan during a virtual press conference.
"One More Political Prisoner Is Still Waiting To Be Released"-McAllister
The MEPs expressed their opinions about the political situation in Georgia at the discussion of the report on the implementation of the Association Agreement between the EU and Georgia.
Promoting Georgia As a Safe Destination For Tourism
“Georgia – a safe destination” is a message that Georgian diplomats should send to people in their countries, - Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia said while talking to Georgian ambassadors abroad via a video conference today.
UN To Allocate USD 1 Million To Support COVID-19 Crisis in Georgia
The United Nations will allocate USD 1 million for Georgia to help the country better respond to the immediate health consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and protect the most vulnerable groups from the devastating socio-economic impacts of the health crisis.
U.S. Senators Express Concern Over The Expulsion of American Businesses From Georgia
U.S. Senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn, Congressmen Judy Arrington, and Markwayne Mullin have written to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, expressing concern over the expulsion of U.S. companies and businesses from Georgia.
European Parliament Approves €150 Million Aid For Georgia
The European Parliament on Friday approved €3 billion in loans to help EU neighbors and partner countries deal with the fallout of COVID-19.
MEPs and U.S Senators Welcome the Pardon of Opposition Politicians
Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili announced yesterday that she was pardoning Georgian opposition politicians Gigi Ugulava and Irakli Okruashvili, which she said was ‘a very difficult decision’.
The Presidency of the Council of Europe of Georgia Received a High Assessment
According to the Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia, the presidency of the Council of Europe of Georgia had a very high assessment at the international level.
Coronavirus Crisis is an Opportunity to Deepen Relations With the EU-Salome Zourabichvili
The President of Georgia Salome Zourabichvili talked to the President of the Republic of Finland Sauli Niinistö on March 14.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
GEL Exchange Rate
Convertor
11.08.2020
12.08.2020
USD
1
USD
3.0743
3.0747
EUR
1
EUR
3.6138
3.6272
GBP
1
GBP
4.0061
4.0294
RUB
100
RUB
4.1709
4.2244
Other Stories
On 26 May, Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, joined celebrations in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi
Violation of Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity by Assad regime has been strictly criticized
Exactly one year ago, Georgia was granted visa-free travel with the European Union.
Georgia’s ex-president president Mikheil Saakashvili's supporters managed to free detained Mikheil Saakashvili in the center of Kiev.
The US Ambassador to Georgia Ian Kelly congratulates Georgia on Independence Day.
The regulations on the introduction of visa-free travel for citizens of Georgia have been officially signed in Brussels.
The entire Georgia is involved in Secret Santa game, which means that people are sending gifts to each other secretly
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia is taking part in NATO Ministerial underway in Brussels, Belgium.
A special squad has been mobilized at the 48th polling station in Marneuli, Kvemo Kartli region.
Two politicians in Georgia have come to blows during a live TV debate ahead of the country’s parliamentary elections, Euronews reports.
GEL Exchange
USD
1
USD
3.0747
EUR
1
EUR
3.6272
GBP
1
GBP
4.0294
RUB
100
RUB
4.2244
August 2020
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
31