In the Caucasus We Count

WiP: Higher education admissions reform and access to university: the case of Georgia, January 21 - Lela Chakhaia


American Councils, CRRC Georgia and ARISC present the 1st talk in the Spring 2015 Works-in-Progress Series!

Lela Chakhaia, European University Institute
"Higher education admissions reform and access to university: the case of Georgia"

Wednesday, January 21, 2015 at 6:30pm
EPF/CRRC-Georgia, Kavsadze St. 3, Tbilisi

The Georgian higher education (HE) system was fundamentally transformed in 2005-2006 with the introduction of the unified national admissions, thus eliminating corruption from the entrance process. The new meritocratic admissions mechanism was coupled with increased private costs for students and parents on the one hand, and halving the number of newly admitted students through a strict university accreditation procedure on the other. Using Caucasus Barometer data, this paper analyses how these changes affected the equality of access to HE. While overall access for those who went through the new admissions system decreased, not all social groups were uniformly affected. The analysis suggests that the probability to access to HE decreased more for the children of highly educated parents after the introduction of the new admissions system compared to the children of low-educated parents. No such difference was found for variables such as place of residence or respondents’ gender.

Lela Chakhaia is a doctoral researcher at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy. Her research interests include educational inequalities, social stratification during post-Soviet transition, and the effect of educational policies on inequality. She holds degrees from Harvard University, Central European University and Tbilisi State University. In the past worked at the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia, UNICEF, and Ilia State University.

W-i-P is an ongoing academic discussion series based in Tbilisi, Georgia, that takes place at the Eurasian Partnership Foundation at Kavsadze St. 3. It is co-organized by the Caucasus Research Resource Centers (CRRC), the American Councils for International Education: ACTR/ACCELS, and the American Research Institute of the South Caucasus (ARISC). All of the talks are free and open to the public.

The purpose of the W-i-P series is to provide support and productive criticism to those researching and developing academic projects pertaining the Caucasus region.

Would you like to present at one of the W-i-P sessions? Send an e-mail to