Statement of the Georgian Democracy Initiative
On 12th March, 2013, the Authorization Council of the Educational Institutions made a decision to revoke the authorization of the Agricultural University of Georgia.
According to Article 564 of the Law of Georgia On Higher Education, on the basis of examination of the higher education institution, the Authorization Council is entitled (but not obliged) – upon initiative of the National Center for Education Quality Enhancement – to make a decision on the revocation of the authorization in case it is proved that an institution violated either the standards of authorization or legal norms in the sphere of education, related to the origins, suspension or termination of the student’s or professional student’s status.
Simultaneously, according to Article 6 of the General Administrative Code of Georgia (on the exercise of discretionary powers), in case an administrative body (in the case concerned, the Authorization Council) has a right to exercise its discretionary powers when deciding on an issue, it is obliged to act in compliance with the existing legal framework.
Based on section 1, Article 7 (on proportionality of public and private interests) of the same law ,while exercising the discretionary powers, an administrative body cannot issue an administrative act in case such act results in a damage inflicted on the rights and interests of a person which is disproportionate to the legitimate aim pursued by this act. Despite the fact that in this particular case there could have been specific violations, which could have served as formal grounds for the Authorization Council to revoke the license of the University, we strongly believe that such decision taken in respect of the institution, which is one of the most successful and prestigious higher education institutions nation-wide, is completely unsubstantiated. This resolution will not in any possible way support the fulfillment of the declared objectives in the sphere of higher education; on the contrary, it will influence negatively the aims set.
We believe, the authorities could have used less severe measures which indeed would be in line with the principles of proportionality envisaged by the legislation, at the same time this would disperse particular suspicions of a certain part of the society on the political nature of the decision taken.
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