Returning home from study abroad will benefit nation

Applications will be open until July 7 through the website Photo by PM's Press Office, May 15, 2014, Tbilisi, Georgia

The International Education Centre, a Government funded body responsible for issuing scholarships to study abroad, organized an open day for anyone thinking of wanting to have scholarship-funded study at any of the world’s leading Universities. The scholarships are open to the top 100 universities ranked by the Times.

A tertiary open day has provided 23-year-old David Gachechiladze, a Georgian undergraduate student studying at the faculty of Computer Science at University of Technology in Eindhoven, the opportunity to learn more about scholarship opportunities for his sister Mariam.

"My sister Mariam, 22, has a Post-graduate Masters Degree studying Quantum Mechanics at Oxford University and has already been accepted to continue studying at Doctoral level (PhD) at Oxford but does not have the finances,” Gachechiladze said.

When Mariam heard about the Georgian Government’s initiative, she asked her brother to attend the International Education Centre’s open day to see if she was eligible for a scholarship.

Her four-year Doctoral course will cost her £140000 (415 000 GEL), and she was looking for ways to fund her education.


Giorgi, 21, came at the open day to receive the consultation how to apply for the scholarship. Photo by Nino Alavidze/

 "The Government’s initiative is a great opportunity for Georgian learners. I will recommend my sister to apply for scholarships to fund her Doctoral programs,” Gachechiladze said.

There was one aspect to the scholarship requirements that cast doubt in his mind. People who are granted a scholarship must return to Georgia once they had completed their degree and serve in the public sector for three years.

"I love the idea to use our knowledge to aid the development of our country but when you come back the authorities must create a situation that shows off your skills as much as possible. Working in the public sector does not to limit your knowledge, but on the contrary you have to develop your knowledge to benefit Georgia,” he said.

This was exactly why the Government scholarship made a clause for recipients to return home to give back to the community, he said.

The same opinion was shared by the head of Erasmus+ office in Georgia, Lika Ghlonti. She said the scholarship enabled higher education students to study or work abroad but the main task of local authorities was to maintain these staff in the public sector.

Doors Open Day

The doors opening day was launched with a welcoming speech by Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, who initiated the motion to establish the International Education Centre earlier this month. He said he was excited his initiative had generated a great deal of interest.

"I am happy to see so many motivated youths at the doors opening day,” he said.

In his speech he spoke about the key concept of the program and focused on the novelty of the centre.

"After having come back home, the students will be employed in the public service sector and dedicate their knowledge to our country,” he said.

He believed the scholarship would enable an overseas education would be accessible to anyone.

"No parent in our country should ever fear that his or her child will remain uneducated,” Garibashvili said in his address to the rectors and students of higher education at today’s opening day.

Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili at the open day ceremony. Photo by PM's Press Office.

The initial budget of the program is 2.5 million GEL but if high application numbers exceed exectations, additional funds would be allocated to the program, said the Government Administration deputy head Nino Kobakhidze. 

"The Centre is working with donor organizations and businesses and if some applications do not coincide with the priorities of the Government, we will offer them the opportunity to issue scholarships to these applicants,” Kobakhidze said.

The Government’s priorities for issuing scholarships will go to people studying law, agriculture, engineering and natural sciences, education, architecture, urban development, social sciences, defence and security, art and humanitarian sciences, business administration and statistics.

                                                                                                                 Nino Kobakhidze delivering speech at the open day.

The International Education Centre has already started accepting applications. This will be open until July 7 through the website Doors open day visitors were greeted with these bubbles at the Gamofena, exhibition centre in Tbilisi. Photo by Nino Alavidze/

The head of the International Education Centre Nino Tchelidze said more than 400 people had already registered for the program and 67 applicants had already completed filling in an application form.

"The commission has chosen objective criteria for giving out the scholarships. These are academic achievement, personal motivation and the selected faculty,” Tchelidze said.

The International Education Centre will carry out three basic programs. These are: Financing Master’s and Doctoral programs in world leading universities, inviting foreign and Georgian successful researchers and practitioners who live abroad to share their knowledge, as well as organizing vocational trainings and coursers for public sector employees.

Blackboard – Your opinion is important to us

"Please, don’t be bounded only with the top 100 Universities ranked by the Times. By adding more universities to the list, including Scandinavian and German ones, it would increase the number of beneficiaries. These universities are mostly free and cheap but at the same time very good universities. Thanks you for your attention,” reads one of the notes on the blackboard.

Organisers of the open day are eager to hear ideas of how to further develop the program and launched a blackboard initiative, which read: "Your opinion is important to us”.

Community members have the opportunity to express their opinion about the project by writing their thoughts on coloured papers and sticking them onto the blackboard. Beka, 22, sticking his note onto the blackboard. / glanced at some of the notes and found most of the comments related to application procedure deadlines.

Some notes read that the list of the universities could be increased.

International Education Centre head Nino Tchelidze said this issue had already been discussed and there would not be any restrictions regarding other universities.