On 3rd December, 2013, the Ministry of Education and Science announced a competition to finance the Master Degree Study- Research projects. The Close out of the announced competition is today on 5th December. It is appreciated to announce this type of initiative to fund the projects, however, the two day deadline to submit the proposals raises the doubts of transparency and possibility of fairness of the process. Such a short deadline, in total 2 days, is not enough only to write the proposals by students but properly spread the information about the competition (Order about the mentioned competition is dated 2 December and it would not have been spread publicly earlier).
The requirements and conditions worth to take into consideration such as:
• funding can be gained by enlisted active team of students (composed of 3 to 5 students) of the accredited master degree program of a high education institution;
• the team of students applied to the scientific research program should have a head of the team, specifically a person with a Ph. D or equivalents degree;
• students submitting an application must submit the following documents:
o statement of a head of the scientific research about the participation in the competition ;
o the proposal, including a justification for the project, a description of the planned research, schedule of detailed costs and a description of the expected results;
o a biography of the project scientific head;
o aletter of support from the higher education institute of the graduates
The above mentioned conditions obviously are not in compliance with the terms of the competition. In particular, the concern refers not just to how within two days the graduate students will be able to consult and come to agreement on the general proposal of the research or on the future cooperation among 3 to 5 group members, not to mention agreement with the mentor.
In addition, a support letter requirement from a higher education institution, that often as a minimum needs to pass the bureaucratic procedures to be approved. However the most important matter stays preparation of proper proposal, plan and descriptions and a financial justification within 2 days.
As indicated, 240 00 Gel is allocated for the Competition, whereas each project will be financed with maximum of 30 000 Gel, therefore, it is necessary to be avoided any suspicion of improper conditions for the grant.
It should be noted that a similar type of competition had been announces by the Legal Entity Rustaveli Foundation of the Ministry of Education and Science for Ph.D students. That time, the order had been issued on 23 September and the information about the competition was posted on the wen-side on September 29 with deadline of submission on October 29.
Terms and condition of the Competition for Maser Degree Students cause serious suspicion that an average student is restricted to apply for the completion with complete proposal that may be related to the lack information as the competition requirements are disproportional with the deadlines.
Therefore, we call for the Ministry of Education and Science to extend the Competition period and set adequate timeline to anable any interested person to participate in the competition. We consider that such action would make the process more transparent and fair.
The Ministry should also ensure openness of the entire process (submission of the applications, statements of evaluation and final decision-making). It should be ensured at all stages of the competition, including information about the names of the winners and their projects proactively to be disclosed.
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