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Saakashvili: ‘Georgia Switzerland with Elements of Singapore’
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 9 Mar.'10 / 17:29

President Saakashvili said on March 9, that Georgia was moving towards becoming “Switzerland of this region with elements of Singapore.”

Speaking at an opening ceremony of a new building for Turkish-Georgian school in Batumi, Saakashvili mainly spoke of education system. 

“The major thing, that we should create and which represents our major challenge and task, is creation of the highest level of education system in this region and hopefully in Europe and in the world – like it was in Singapore, like it was in Switzerland,” he said.

“Because we are Switzerland of this region with elements of Singapore; of course we have a long way ahead before reaching that point. [Georgia] is the place where most of the financial interests will be concentrated, the most of the business activities will be concentrated, the most of the transport and tourism infrastructure will be concentrated; we will create all these together with our friends; these children [referring to school children standing behind him] should make all this work – these are the most honorable citizens of future Georgian Switzerland, future Georgian Singapore, future Georgian Dubai, Georgian Hong Kong and of greatest Georgia of all times,” Saakashvili added.

In his speech at the ceremony, also attended by visiting Turkish State Minister Hayati Yazici, Saakashvili hailed Turkish investments in Georgia’s education system through establishing university and schools, “where Georgian patriots are being grown up.”

“This word – patriotism, which some consider as shameful, is not regarded as shameful in these schools, because Turkey knows very well what does patriotism of own country mean and appreciates what does patriotism in its neighboring – especially in its friendly neighboring countries – mean,” Saakashvili said.

He said that after eradicating corruption in the education system on the first stage of the reforms, Georgia should now focus on “increase of quality of education.”

“We had very good education ministers,” he said and added that first education minister in his administration Alexander Lomaia, who is now Georgia’s ambassador to UN, established “fair education system” through eradicating corruption.

“What [current Education Minister] Dimitri Shashkin is now doing is modernization of this system – this fair system should now produce high quality of education,” he said.

2010 state budget allocated GEL 557.6 million for the Ministry of Education and Science, against GEL 519 million in 2009. This funding is 2.9% of this year’s forecasted GEL 19 billion GDP.

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