Higher Education Authorization Standards in Georgia - Enhancement of Education Quality?

In different countries, especially in less developed countries, higher education quality assurance/development is a serious challenge. One of the leading causes of the problem may be that they have to reflect elsewhere based and operating systems in their practice. The American and Northwestern European education systems and their standards have gained international dominance since the last decade of the 20th century. As a result, many countries are trying to "copy" existing practices and establish them in their reality (Harvey and Williams 2010). In such countries, the process is usually "rough," on the one hand, taking into account the unique features, experience, and existing educational practices of the state/society (Lemaitre 2002), and on the other hand, in "model" countries, the shortcomings of this system and the problems caused by it. Without analysis (Idrus 2003), which may lead us not to develop the quality of education but its imitation (Harvey and Williams 2010). Georgia may not be an exception in this regard, where the process of standardization of the higher education system is usually carried out in accordance with Western "best practices." 

According to the current Law of Georgia on the Development of the Quality of Education, "The development of the quality of education is promoted through internal and external mechanisms. External mechanisms to encourage the development of the quality of education are authorization and accreditation. In contrast, internal mechanisms are implemented by the educational institution under the rules established by the legislation of Georgia. In this paper, we focus on one of the external mechanisms for developing the quality of education in Georgia - authorization standards. In addition, we review the harmful process of standardization of education in the so-called. Side effects include homogenization of higher education institutions, loss of university autonomy, demotivation of academic staff, and standards as a tool in the hands of the state to pursue its interests.

We believe that: HEI authorization standards make universities homogeneous, limit autonomy, complicate the process, and in some cases, the state uses authorization standards to pursue its narrow interests.

This assumption is checked by the case study method, in particular, by analyzing the existing authorization standards in Georgia and from 2018 (from the introduction of new standards) to September 2020, by examining the authorization process of all universities in Georgia and the decisions made by the Authorization Board.

Note: The full document is available only in Georgian.


photo credit: Awantha Artigala


Davit Kutidze, Irina Gurgenashvili