Would-Be Medical Students Go on Hunger Strike
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 17 Mar.'05 / 15:20

Reports say thirteen students of the State Medical College staged a hunger strike to protest against the Georgian Education Ministry’s decision to abolished a privilege for the State Medical College students, envisaging enrolment into the State Medical University without taking entrance exams upon completion of three years of study at the State Medical College.

This privilege was formally arranged through a contract between these potential medical students and the State Medical University administration. But the privilege was abolished by a new Education Law passed by the Georgian Parliament last December.

The would-be medical students decided to go on a hunger strike after a two-week protest rally outside the Parliament failed to force the authorities, particularly the Education Ministry, to make concessions. Education Minister Kakha Lomaia says that all would-be students, including those in the State Medical College, should be equal and all of them should pass entry exams.

According to the new Education Law, all potential students willing to be enrolled in a higher education center have to pass standardized nationwide tests, which, according to the Education Ministry, rules out any possibility of corrupt transactions between the universities’ administrations and would-be students. This new rule of entry exams, according to the Education Ministry, aims at rooting out corruption which has been widespread in the Georgian education system for many years.

The potential medical students say that they are ready to pass those exams envisaged by the internal regulations of the State Medical College, but refuse to take the new standardized entry tests.

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