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The Minister of Education and Science of Georgia, Mikheil Chkhenkeli, held an introductory meeting with the newly appointed Ambassador of France, Sheraz Gasri. The parties discussed the details of the existing and future cooperation between Georgia and France in the field of education and science. The minister congratulated the French ambassador on her new position and wished her success in her work.
Mikheil Chkhenkeli thanked the French side for supporting the education system and said that the excellent project of the French-Georgian University is a striking example of the long-standing friendship between Georgia and France in the field of education and science. According to the minister, it is important to further expand the mentioned project sby adding new academic programs.
Mikheil Chkhenkeli offered the French ambassador to implement joint professional programs under the umbrella of the French-Georgian University. According to the minister, the internationalization of professional education is one of the main priorities of the government – owing to the initiative of the Prime Minister of Georgia, Mr. Irakli Gharibashvili, foreign teachers will be involved in the educational process in colleges from 2022, which provides an opportunity to introduce international standards in the educational process. In addition, foreign language centres and exchange programs will be offered to both students and vocational education teachers. Mikheil Chkhenkeli offered the French ambassador close cooperation in this direction.
Furthermore, during the meeting, the minister relayed information about the main mega-project of the education system of Georgia to Ambassador Gasri, which is Kutaisi International University. According to the minister, the author of the idea and entire concept of the university belongs to Mr. Bidzina Ivanishvili. It was because of his and his family's extremely important contribution that a world-class academic and scientific-research space emerged in the country.
According to Mikheil Chkhenkeli, the high standard and degree of internationalization of the university is determined by the approach that provides for the creation of academic programs in a specific field in cooperation with the world's leading universities. The minister noted that the programs currently operating at the university are similar to those of the Technical University of Munich. According to his statement, the cooperation with the world's leading universities continues actively and new academic programs for all three levels of education are gradually being introduced to the higher educational institution. According to the minister, Kutaisi International University is ready to actively cooperate with leading French universities in order to implement joint academic programs.
Moreover, as the minister said, Kutaisi International University, which started operating in 2020, has a rapidly growing rating, which is an indication that its development is taking place with the right strategy and framework - based on the results of the unified national exams of 2022, according to the average competitive score, Kutaisi International University is the first choice amongst the students in the country.
Furthermore, during the meeting with the French ambassador, Mikheil Chkhenkeli also mentioned that with the funding of the "Kartu" foundation, a Hadron therapy centre is being built on the premises of the Kutaisi International University, where international scientific circles will be involved in the process of conducting research in the fields of oncology and proton therapy. The ultra-modern cyclotrons have already been installed by the world's leading manufacturer of proton therapy equipment for cancer diseases – IBA. One cyclotron will be entirely intended for scientific research in medical and nuclear physics, while the other one will be fully utilised for cancer treatment. According to the minister, the fact that one cyclotron will be entirely dedicated for research, special interest from the international scientific community has emerged. This is evidenced by the fact that many famous foreign scientists have already expressed their desire to participate in the research process together with their Georgian peers. According to Mikheil Chkhenkeli, it would be mutually beneficial if Georgian and French scientists could implement joint scientific projects within this particular field.
Additionally, during the meeting with the newly appointed ambassador of France, the parties also discussed the Horizon Europe program. According to the minister, in 2021, with the direct involvement of the Prime Minister of Georgia, Mr. Irakli Gharibashvili, Georgia became a member of the European Union's new research and innovation framework program, Horizon Europe. The international agreement of association was signed in Brussels. As a result, the scientific community of Georgia now has the opportunity to participate in competitions announced within the research and innovation program with a budget of 95.5 billion euros with the same conditions and rights as the representatives of the scientific and innovation spheres of the EU countries enjoy. It should be noted that the national and grant offices of Horizon Europe are already functioning in Georgia.
On her part, the Ambassador of France to Georgia, gave a positive assessment of the ongoing mega-project in the Georgian education system and said that the establishment and development of a new university corresponding to European quality is really impressive. According to her, she is pleased that the world's leading scientists are actively involved in the development of Kutaisi International University. Sheraz Gasri expressed her willingness to cooperate with the university.
The meeting was attended by Camille Nora, adviser to the French ambassador and director of the French Institute.