Oligarch, leader of ruling party of Georgia opens university 10 days before elections, amid pandemic
After much hype in recent years, Kutaisi International University is finally opening its doors.
The university is the personal project of the informal ruler of Georgia, Bidzina Ivanishvili, who allocated a billion euros for it. The university, which has been waiting for several years to open, is beginning operations in the midst of a pandemic, when Georgia’s higher educational institutions are closed and students are studying online.
This year, instead of the earlier anticipated 60,000, the new university will accept just over 200 students.
Moreover, the opening date of October 21 is just 10 days before the elections.
According to the project, Kutaisi International University will become the first large educational center in the region, which will be equipped with modern laboratories and infrastructure and will be designed for 60,000 students.
This year, 1112 applicants registered for three English-language undergraduate programs (management, mathematics and computer science), 245 were accepted.
However, at the moment, due to coronavirus restrictions, it is not known when or if studies will begin.
The leader of the Georgian Dream party Bidzina Ivanishvili came up with the idea of building a university in Kutaisi even before the 2012 parliamentary elections, as a result of which he came to power.
Since then, from 2012 to 2016, that is, until the next parliamentary elections, nothing has been heard about the construction of the university.
The ruling party, namely Ivanishvili himself, returned to this topic before the 2016 parliamentary elections.
Since then, the deadline for completing the construction of the complex and opening the university have been postponed several times.
Because of this, this large-scale project has become the object of criticism from the opposition as the unfulfilled promise of the Georgian Dream, as well as the topic of jokes on social media.
Finally, 10 days before the decisive parliamentary elections on October 31, 2020, the university will open.
The idea of building a university in Kutaisi arose after Bidzina Ivanishvili abandoned a similar project already launched by former President Mikheil Saakashvili in Batumi – the Batumi Technical University. The Georgian Dream government sold the building built for this university to a private investor.