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Public Defender Terms Rule of Issuing Scholarship by School as Encouragement of Discrimination on grounds of Sex

On February 6, 2018, the Public Defender of Georgia addressed Iakob Gogebashvili School Ltd with a general proposal to observe the principle of equality during announcement of a scholarship program and develop a special provision in order to define the criteria for selecting scholarship recipients and the rules of granting scholarship.

According to the Sapari NGO, Iakob Gogebashvili School appointed scholarships for the eighth-grader boys for the academic years of 2017-2018, though no eighth-grader girls have the same opportunity.

The Public Defender considers that the scholarship program, which according to the educational institution, aimed to keep balance between sexes and eliminate the discomfort and suppression of boys in the eighth grade caused by the fact that they are in the minority, constitutes reproduction of gender stereotypes and promotes creation of unequal environment.

The Public Defender noted that an educational institution is obliged to create equal opportunities for each student in the financing process, while in case of appointing a scholarship in exceptional cases, the educational institution should, on the one hand, substantiate that a person or a group of persons put in the favored position are vulnerable considering their economic and social factors, and on the other hand, what results will be achieved by the temporary measure and how the scholarship will help the target group.

The Public Defender welcomes the desire of educational institutions to financially help and encourage students, though it is necessary the institutions to have well-defined assessment criteria for selecting scholarship recipients in order to prevent that any group is put in disadvantageous and unequal situation or other persons in need are excluded unjustifiably from the list of recipients.

The recommendation also notes that the implementation of positive measures may, in some cases, be the most effective means of combating inequality, but such measures should be taken by considering the context of specific factual circumstances and should not lead to violation of others’ right to equality.

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