In 2018 a new wave of authorisation process of higher educational institutions started in accordance with new authorisation standards. Through this framework, on April 24-27 International Black Sea University hosted a panel of authorisation experts chaired by an international expert of education from the UK, Professor Andy Gibbs.
Based on the analysis of documents and factual information obtained throughout the visit the expert panel prepared a report defining the level of compliance of International Black Sea University with authorisation standards: none of the seven standards (19 sub-standards) received a negative evaluation.
In accordance with August 20, 2018 decision of the higher education authorisation council International Black Sea University has been granted authorisation for 6 years; however, the council made what seems to be an illogical decision conflicting with and ignoring the authorisation expert panel’s positive appraisal of the university; the council put restrictions on International Black Sea University to enrol a new cohort of freshmen students till August 20, 2019. As a result, approximately 800 students have been devoid of their legal right to choose to study at International Black Sea University; the council’s decision obliges the students to study at other higher education institutions other than International Black Sea University. According to the existing law, this decision threatens student enrolment for two years.
The reason for the decision, which the council officially announced, is that International Black Sea University was imposed a tax penalty in 2013 (current sum of tax penalty is 700,000.00 Georgian Lari); however, the case has been appealed in the court. Because of the penalty, the university assets have been under seizure. In case of losing the lawsuit, International Black Sea University expresses its readiness to pay the penalty. It should be highlighted that in accordance with the June 4, 2018 decree #025-152 of the Revenue Service the asset seizure of International Black Sea University was revoked. The aforementioned document was submitted to the authorisation council; however, it was not taken into account by the Council.
The council’s decision devoid of all reasonable grounds and is unjust for the following reasons: first, International Black Sea University holds the property and assets the value of which is many times higher than 700,000.00 Georgian Lari; second, the authorization council’s decision will cause about 2 million Lari loss to the university only in the current year (the money which should have been spent for various educational purposes). Definitely, a question is raised whether the decision to restrict the university income is logical and adequate if the council thinks that the major concern about the university is financial and material stability.
According to the authorisation panel experts’ decision the material and financial resources of the university are in full compliance with the standards and requirements. Accordingly, the authorisation council ignores and doubts its own international and local experts’ qualified evaluation.
The irresponsible decision of the authorisation council curbs the development of Georgia’s one of the highly-rated and internationally recognized universities which has a 23-year successful experience in the field of education, which is known for high employment rate of its graduates, and cooperates with more than 60 universities the world over. Currently, about 2000 local and international students study at International Black Sea University and it employs around 400 qualified personnel.
We would like to address a non-governmental sector and international organisations, diplomatic corps and the entire civil society to support International Black Sea University in its fight against injustice.
We would also like to address the Government of Georgia to take all the necessary measures to safeguard Georgia’s international reputation, democratic values, freedom of entrepreneurship, and most importantly, protect the field of education from unhealthy and unfavourable influences.
Our demand is to eliminate immediately the unfair decision made by the Authorization Board regarding the students’ admission restriction for one year in order to ensure prospective students’ rights to be enrolled at IBSU as they indicated first priority choice at the National University Exams.