Azerbaijan, Baku, 31 October / Trend , corr. J.Babayeva /Azerbaijanis living in Georgia face serious problems in receiving education in their native language every year.
"The number of books, which the Azerbaijani Education Ministry delivers to Azerbaijani schools in Georgia, was cut sharply. Previously, the Ministry delivered 80,000 copies, but the number was cut to 22,000 this year. One book accounts for two schoolchildren," Ramiz Mammadov, head of Korpu, the Azerbaijani-Georgian Friendship and Cultural Relations Community said at the press-conference in Baku.
The Azerbaijani education Ministry has been delivering books to Azerbaijani schools in Georgia since 1994. The books, which have been published due to public funds, are circulated free of charge.
Faig Shahbazli, head of the Textbook and Printed Matters Department of the Education Ministry, told Trend that the reduction in the number of books was due to the fact that the Georgian Government has started to publish books for Azerbaijani schools.
Mammadov said the number of Azerbaijani schools in Georgia has dramatically reduced for the last five years. "There are 112 Azerbaijani schools left out of 194. The number of Georgian schools in Azerbaijan has not changed. There are 12 schools as before. The reduction in the number of Azerbaijani schools can be due to the absence of agreement between Ministries of Education of Azerbaijan and Georgia," he said.
Azerbaijani school children prefer to study in Georgian schools. "They can not continue their education in Azerbaijani higher schools because of financial difficulties," he said.
"Georgians living abroad have a right to receive free education in their homeland. Azerbaijanis living in Georgia ask the Azerbaijani government to provide conditions for graduates of Azerbaijani schools in Georgia to receive education in Azerbaijani higher schools free of charge," Mammadov said.
According to Law on Education, Azerbaijani citizens living abroad can not receive education in Azerbaijan free of charge.
According to unofficial data, about 500,000 Azerbaijanis live in Georgia, mainly in Kvemo-Kartli (Borchali) province.
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