Public Defender of Georgia Responds to Open Letter of Kiketi School Students
The Public Defender of Georgia got acquainted with the open letter of the twelfth-grader students of Iakob Gogebashvili School, in which students express concern about the aggression of the public following the Public Defender’s general proposal issued in relation to their school.
First of all, the Public Defender would like to note that the proposal was related to a specific fact, namely, a scholarship announced for the eighth-grader boys of the school for the 2017-2018 academic years, and that it did not evaluate the general situation of equality at the school. In addition, it is important for the Public Defender not to harm child’s interests and calls on all parties to act in accordance with the best interests of the students.
The Public Defender is obliged to ensure equality in the country and react to any fact which deliberately or negligently encourages or may encourage discrimination. The general proposal was of preventive nature and served to prevent any form of discrimination. The Public Defender has issued about 70 recommendations and general proposals on the equality issues for various organizations, including educational establishments.
The Public Defender has made a decision to prepare a general proposal in relation to the Kiketi School, since she considered that when a scholarship or other benefit is given to a person due to his/her gender, regardless of whether the person is a boy or a girl, this may in future result in discrimination in the field of education, employment or other spheres.
As you know, women have not been able to enjoy human rights over the centuries. Even today there are cases where women are denied to be employed due to the fact that the employer, by the influence of false stereotypes, believes that women cannot work properly or that their family status (spouse and children) is incompatible with working. Therefore, it is important that promotion of education or professional development be related not to gender but to educational or professional skills. It is not necessary the number of girls and boys to be equal in a class in order to ensure that students get good education; it is important their encouragement to be related to other, objective circumstances, as the use of sex as a criterion may willingly or unwillingly cause discrimination in future.
The Public Defender offers the school administrations, including the Kiketi School, to jointly organize workshops for the schoolchildren and teachers, where the Public Defender, together with them, will be able to talk about equality and child’s rights.
The Public Defender wishes success to all students in their education and future activities.