Abkhazia, Tskhinvali Graduates to Enroll in Georgian Universities without Examinations

School graduates from Abkhazia and Tskhinvali/South Ossetia regions will be enrolled at their desired universities in the Tbilisi-controlled territory without participating in unified nationwide entry exams, according to the decision of the Georgian Government, Education Ministry said on July 6.

The aspiring students will receive full tuition funding, that covers the students’ four-year tuition fees – GEL 2,250 annually (regular tuition fee at state-funded universities).

The move comes as Moscow-backed authorities in Sokhumi and Tskhinvali maintain months-long closure of crossing points connecting the regions to Georgia proper, hindering primarily ethnic Georgian entrants from Georgian-majority Gali and Akhlalgori districts to move to Tbilisi-controlled territory to participate in exams.

The Georgian Education Ministry noted that the rule will apply to graduates that have received general education diploma from the high schools in the occupied regions, with having completed the last two years of general education in Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region schools.

The Ministry for Reconciliation, Georgia’s main state body overseeing the occupied regions, told Civil.ge today that the decision applies to 185 school graduates. 176 entrants registered for the entry exams are from Abkhazia, while 9 were registered in Tskhinvali region.

In 2019, Georgian universities admitted applicants from Abkhazia’s Georgian-majority Gali district despite their failure to participate in the nationwide entry exams amid Abkhaz-imposed closure of Enguri crossing point.

 More on the admissions exams system in Georgia can be found here.

Over the last five years, Moscow-backed authorities of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region have successfully squeezed their mother tongue out the last remaining Georgian-language schools in Gali and Akhalgori districts, respectively, switching instead to the Russian language.

The Reconciliation Minister reported in late 2018 that, there were 58 schools in Gali district before 1990s, among them 52 were Georgian, two Russian, three Georgian-Russian and one Georgian-Abkhaz. 31 Georgian schools remaining after the war of 1992-1993 were gradually moved to Russian-language schooling in Gali district. The last 11 Georgian schools were also abolished in 2015.

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