Saakashvili: State should help ethnic minorities in education
( Civil ) - Bad command of the Georgian language should not become "an insuperable barrier" for ethnic minorities to enroll in Georgia's universities, President Saakashvili said on July 18.
Speaking at a government session Saakashvili said a special state program envisages bringing hundred ethnic Armenians and hundred ethnic Azerbaijanis from Samtskhe-Javakheti and Kvemo Kartli regions, respectively, at preparatory courses, which will help them to then enroll in the universities.
He said it was not a fault of ethnic minorities that they do not speak Georgian well.
"This is because of the fact that we [the authorities] were not well-organized... I want to emphasize that the minorities urge us to teach them the Georgian language," Saakashvili said.
Alluding to the fact that most of ethnic minority youth prefer to enroll in universities in Armenia, Azerbaijan, or Russia, Saakashvili said it was very important to create conditions wherein "our citizens acquire knowledge not abroad, but in the capital and other cities of Georgia.
In its report last year, the Brussels-based think-tank International Crisis Group outlined the inability to speak the state language as "the minorities' biggest problem."