Students of Tbilisi Ivane Javakhishvili State University, the oldest university in Georgia, have been protesting resumption of in-person studies over the past several days, demanding the university administration to also maintain onlain studies for several months as many of them, who are from regions, are unable to pay for increased rent for flats in the capital.
The coronavirus pandemic and inflow of foreign nationals amid Russia’s war in Ukraine have caused the surge in the rent costs in the Georgian capital, sparking problems for students and those with low incomes.
The Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia has called on the leadership of the university to consider the students’ protest, ensure their placement in campuses and hybrid model of studies until the end of the 2021-2022 academic year.
Up to 22,000 students are currently enrolled in seven faculties of TSU.
The university has two student campuses - one on Lisi Lake and another in Bagebi, central Tbilisi.
Students suggest that living conditions in Bagebi “degrading” while Lisi is far from the university location and there is a transportation problem.
The university administration says that the information about the resumption of in-person studies was released on February 18 and students had more than two months to address economic and other issues.