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Edited Article

Resume: In accordance with the Information of the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport of Georgia, as of 1 November 2018 there are 53,932 students with suspended status all over Georgia. Of this amount, 17,206 students had their student status suspended for non-payment which constitutes 31.9% of the total amount.

As of 1 November 2013, there were 21,704 students with suspended status. Of this amount, 5,847 students had their student status suspended for non-payment which constituted 26.9% of the total amount.

As stated by the National Centre for Educational Quality Enhancement, data on the aforementioned issue was not collected until 2013. Therefore, FactCheck is unable to verify the precise number of students with suspended status in November 2012; that is to say, in the very period when the Georgian Dream came to power.

Therefore, FactCheck leaves this statement Without Verdict.

Analysis

European Georgia – Movement for Freedom MP, Sergo Ration, again voiced the issue of students with suspended status and stated: “Today, there are 50,000 students with suspended student status. This number is growing annually. When you came to power (addressing the Georgian Dream), this figure was 11,000 and now it is 50,000.”

FactCheck took interest in the accuracy of the statement.

Sergio Ratiani frequently comes forward at the sessions of the Parliament of Georgia with the issue of students with suspended status. FactCheck started to verify information in regard to this topic as early as in 2014 and has been updating readers with new information ever since.

Suspension of student status means that a particular student temporarily ceases studying at a university for a variety of reasons.[1] A student is able to restore his student status within five years and continue studies from the level at which his status was suspended. The most widespread reason for students having a suspended status in Georgia is non-payment. However, apart from financial liability, there are many reasons for suspending student status and these reasons can be completely unrelated to financial issues.

In accordance with the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport, the National Centre for Educational Quality Enhancement keeps copies of the databases of educational establishments and releases information as 1 November or 1 April of each year. Given the fact that the National Centre for Educational Quality Enhancement only started to keep copies of databases in 2013, information is only available from 2013 to the present day and, therefore, FactCheck is unable to assess the situation before 2013.

In accordance with the information of the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport of Georgia, there are 53,932 students with suspended status all over Georgia as of 1 November 2018. Of this amount, 17,206 students had their student status suspended for non-payment which constitutes 31.9% of the total amount.

As of 1 November 2013, there were 21,704 students with suspended status. Of this amount, 5,847 students had their student status suspended for non-payment which constituted 26.9% of the total amount.

As previously mentioned, the National Centre for Educational Quality Enhancement does not have data before 2013. Therefore, FactCheck is unable to verify precisely how many students had their status suspended in 2012 (when the Georgian Dream came to power).

In the five years since 2013, the amount of students with suspended status increased by nearly 32,000 which is presumably a growth of 6,000-7,000 per year. Therefore, we do not understand the type of change the Georgian Dream enacted whilst in power that could have resulted in a doubling of the number of students with suspended status from 11,000 to 22,000. However, disputes cannot be verified based on open sources alone and so FactCheck leaves the MP’s statement without a verdict.

Editor’s Note:

This article was published for the first time on 19 January 2019. In accordance with the initial version of the article, FactCheck assumed that the politician referred to the year 2013 for comparison because copies of the databases of educational establishments prior to 2013 are not available. Therefore, making statements about this situation before 2013 would not be appropriate. In addition, FactCheck also assumed that whilst referring to the number of students with suspended status, Sergo Ratiani meant students who had their status suspended for non-payment and not for any other reasons given the fact that this particular issue has been repeatedly highlighted by Mr Ratiani over the years.

After the publication of the original article, a representative of the politician contacted FactCheck and offered additional clarification. In particular, Sergo Ratiani had referred to the data for 2012 which was available for him at that period of time. Further, he also referred to all students with suspended status for any reason and not only those who had their status suspended for non-payment. As to FactCheck’s question about what possibly could have caused such a sharp growth in the number of students with suspended status, Mr Ratiani himself unfortunately does not have an answer.

Considering the fact that we cannot bring additional arguments from the available open sources, FactCheck’s verdict of MOSTLY FALSE was changed to WITHOUT A VERDICT.

FactCheck would like to thank the politician and his representative for providing the additional information.



[1] Apart from non-payment, these reasons could be as follows: temporary sabbatical from learning, temporarily leaving the country, marriage, childbirth, incompatibility of job and studies, etc.