President Saakashvili has vetoed amendments to the law on high education, which was passed by the Parliament in late July.
Nino Kalandadze, president’s advisor, said on August 16 that the bill was vetoed for number of reasons, including because of objections regarding a provision which bans doctoral degree seekers to hold assistant professor’s position.
Opponents of the bill say that this provision will eliminate currently existing more flexible system, which, they say, is more appropriate for the Georgian education system at this stage of development.
One of the most controversial points in initial draft of this bill was related to giving the Prime Minister the right to appoint an interim rector of state universities, pending election of new one. But this provision was removed from the draft after it met opposition not only from UNM and some academic circles, but also from several GD lawmakers.
According to the bill in case of pre-term termination of rector’s authority, the acting head of the university, who should lead the institution before election of new rector, should be appointed by “electoral board”, composed by those holding academic posts in a respective institution and who hold doctoral or equivalent academic degrees. President’s advisor said that presidential objections regarding the bill also include a proposal to allow doctoral degree seekers to also be part of the electoral board.
The bill was initiated by the Education Ministry at the time when the ministry was led by Giorgi Margvelashvili, who is now GD’s presidential candidate.
Asked about the veto, Margvelashvili, who was on his campaign trail in Stepantsminda on August 12, said presidential vetoes became part of “a normal working process”.
“Everything I do is being vetoed by the President,” he told journalists. “I hope he won’t put a veto on my shoes too to prevent me from moving.”