Caucasus University Breaks Ground on New Batumi Campus

On Wednesday, Caucasus University began construction on their new Batumi campus.

The project was launched in an official ceremony, attended by representatives of the government of the Autonomous Republic of Ajara, Caucasus University administration, staff, and students and other invited guests. Remarks were delivered by Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili, Chairman of the Government of the Autonomous Republic of Ajara Tornike Rizhvadze, Deputy Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sport Irina Abuladze, and President of Caucasus University and the International Association of Universities Kakha Shengelia.

While addressing the audience, Zurabishvili emphasized the significance of launching the new university in Ajara, noting that it is leading the process of decentralization and development of the regions, which is pivotal for the strength of the country.

“I have said multiple times that the development of the regions is our major priority and obviously, launching a new educational institution is one of the paramount steps in this direction,” said the President.

Zurabishvili also expressed happiness with the fact that the modern university building has been designed by Georgian architects and will create jobs for local people – yet another way it is contributing to the regional development of the country and stemming the brain drain and rural-urban migration. Finally, the Georgian President noted that the Batumi branch of Caucasus University will serve Georgian, as well as international students, opening a source for additional financial profit from abroad.

Chairman Rizhvadze told the guests that the project not only involves the construction of a campus of an educational institution, but will provide well-developed modern infrastructure for young people, including all the necessary facilities: labs, libraries, sporting arenas, and more, for obtaining a high-quality education. Rizhvadze expressed hope that the new campus will transform Ajara into a regional hub for education.

Caucasus University has nearly 130 partners from 70 countries, enabling it to admit foreign students and lecturers, as well as to conduct dual education and exchange programs for students, faculty, and staff.

The project underwent several months of negotiations to determine the land where the new campus will be constructed and the architectural design. The university plans to have it completed within three years. The Caucasus University has been implementing Educational Programs in Batumi since 2010 in tourism, law and economics. The new campus will house 1500 Georgian and 500 international students. In addition to its standard undergraduate and graduate programs, the university will also offer courses in vocational education and training.

Academically high achieving students with expressed financial need will be eligible for scholarships and fee waivers – worth noting, as Caucasus University is one of the more expensive private universities in Georgia.

Caucasus University was established in 2004 on the foundation of Caucasus School of Business, established in 1998. In 2018, the university launched a new campus in Tbilisi, marking its 20th anniversary. Last fall, Caucasus University announced another new campus in the town of Gurjaani, called ‘Caucasus Wine University,’ which plans to accept its first class of students in the 2020-2021 academic year. The campus will provide vocational education and training for the viticulture industry.

Caucasus University is not the only higher education institution with interest in the regions, though. While, traditionally, higher education outside Tbilisi has been sparse and often lower quality than in the capital, there is growing recognition that sustainable growth and the preservation of Georgia’s regions depends on decentralization. With consistently improving transportation links throughout the country, both rail and road, the logistics of a major university outside Tbilisi are also becoming more feasible.

Construction is currently underway in Kutaisi on a massive University City project, financed by the Cartu Foundation, the charity fund of Bidzina Ivanishvili, Georgian billionare, former Prime Minister, and founder of the ruling Georgian Dream party. The university will focus solely on science and technology, with the aim of drawing 60,000 top students out of Tbilisi, and from other countries, to study in Kutaisi. It will feature state of the art facilities in an American-style multi-building living and studying complex over 140 hectares of land. The current schedule will see the first class of students enter the university in the fall of 2020.

By Samantha Guthrie and Ketevan Kvaratskheliya

Photo: Caucasus University

11 July 2019 18:11