History of I. Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University (TSU)
Tbilisi State University (TSU) was founded in 1918 by a famous western educated Georgian historian Ivane Javakhishvili and the group of his followers. It was the first institution of higher educational in Caucasus at that time.
Since ancient times, Georgia has emphasized the importance of education, the evidence of which are the education centers scattered throughout the world: the School of Philosophy and Rhetoric of Phazisi in Colchis (IV c.); the cultural-enlightenment centers in Palestine (V c.), Syria (VI c.), Greece (X-XV cc.) and Bulgaria (XI c.); Gelati and Iqalto Academies in Georgia (XI-XII cc.); However, because of the strained political and economic situation in the middle ages and then becoming subject to Russia, there was not a single institution of higher education in Georgia.
The university opened on was January 26th, 1918 which is the day commemorated to the memory of the Georgian king "David the Builder". A church in the TSU garden, named after the King, has been functioning since September 5th, 1995. In 1989, the university was named after its founder - Ivane Javakhishvili.
One of the founders of TSU, Petre Melikishvili, an eminent chemist, was elected as the first rector. Originally, the university had only one faculty – the faculty of philosophy. At the beginning of 1918 the board of professors and lecturers totaled to only 18, the student body of the university accounted 369 students and 89 class auditors.
Despite the communist ideology and censorship, Tbilisi State University managed to maintain enthusiasm, devotion to national ideals, and establish many scientific centers, which birthed several prominent Georgian intellectuals.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union at the end of the 20th century, TSU entered a new era. TSU began to restructure and prepare itself to become a world-class university.
Today, the number of professors involved in teaching and training is around 3275, including 55 academics and corresponding members of the academy, 595 professors and doctors, 1246 assistant professors and candidates of sciences. Over 35 thousand students are pursuing their degrees at 8 regional branches of the university. A very important step toward modernization was in 1994 when the university scientific council adopted "The Concepts of University Education”. The document officially introduced new instruction structure at the University that transferred from one level (5 years) study system to a two-level system, which advanced and helped integrate TSU into the European higher educational environment.
Today TSU is a driving force behind Georgian higher education. As a forward-looking university, TSU realizes that it faces new demands and strives to meet the challenges of 21st century by offering a top tier education, developing research opportunities, and enhancing its material-technical base and resources. The university’s main directions, principles, values and reforms are carried out dynamically in a systematic, coordinated manner and have placed TSU on a development path leading towards joining the European Higher Education Area.
Currently, TSU is the largest university in Georgia with 6 enlarged academic units (departments) and over 20,000 students. There are 873 fulltime and 899 part-time academic staff at TSU. TSU has eight campuses, 3 scientific-research and study-scientific institutes, 81 scientific-research laboratories and centers, 161 study laboratories and rooms, clinical hospitals, diagnostic centers and libraries.
In May of 2005, Georgia joined the Bologna process and the transformation of the Georgian educational system began. The university began to implement several new reforms. In 2006, the university successfully passed the institutional accreditation for the period of 2007-2012. New specialties have established at the university and new rules for administrative and academic registration were enforced.
By making the university more demand-driven for both the domestic and international markets, and better understanding how intellectual property can be utilized as an income source (e.g.: the commercialization of research activities and publications) the university hopes to create new products and services that will contribute to its sustainability and independence.
The development of internationally recognized accreditation standards and PhD and certification programs, TSU hopes to attract more international students, as well as to allow Georgian students increased opportunities to study abroad. This also speaks to the development of western-thinking leaders in the country as well as the wider region by making the university more demand-driven for both the domestic and international markets and with the development of internationally recognized accreditation standards and programs. To this end, TSU has established several graduate level programs instructed in English and German, as well as several joint degree programs with prominent European universities.
Numerous universally recognized scientific schools were established at TSU. These are the schools of mathematics (Andria Razmadze, Nikoloz Muskhelishvili, Ilia Vekua, Viktor Kupradze, Andro Bitsadze), physics (Elepter Andronikashvili, MateMirianashvili, Vagan Mamasakhlisov, Givi Khutsishvili Albert Tavkhelidze), psychology (Dimitri Uznadze and others), physiology (Ivane Beritashvili).
Also notable are the national scholarly schools of Georgian historiography (Ivane Javakhishvili and others), history of literature (Korneli Kekelidze and others), Georgian philosophy (Shalva Nutsubidze and others), study of art (Giorgi Chubinashvili and others), Georgian and Caucasian linguistics (Akaki Shanidze, Giorgi Akhvlediani, Arnold Chikobava), Oriental and Classic philology (Grigol Tsereteli, Simon Qaukhchishvili, Giorgi Tsereteli).
TSU is the well-known center for development of humanities. The scholarly journal Georgica (written in German), published jointly by Tbilisi University and Friedrich Schiller University of Jena, has been issued annually since 1978. Georgica is is published in Constance (Germany) through the cooperation of four universities - those of Tbilisi, Jena, Saarbrucken and Constance since 1991. The international scholarly journal Phasisi has been published since 1999 by the Institute of Classical Philology, Byzantine and New Greek Studies, which was founded in 1997 through the support of the governments of Georgia and Greece, scientific-educational centers and intelligentsia. TSU also publishes a scientific journal on American Studies (since 2002).
Thanks to the scientific activity of TSU scholars, Kartvelology (Kartvelian Studies) has turned into an international scholarly discipline. The relevant chairs and scientific research departments serve for preparation of post-graduate students and scientific degree explorers.
Medical education was restored at the university in 1994. An assembly of TSU university medical clinics offer excellent labs, material and technical equipment and highly qualified scientific-intellectual staff. The TSU Medical School operates a Center of Public Health Management and Department for Continuous Medical Education. TSU diagnostic center in addition to teaching provides health care services to its professors and to the general public.
TSU was one of the founder of "The Caucasian School of Business" (CSB). CSB was established in 1999 is now a leading business school in Georgia. It trains specialists in business administration within the framework of the Bachelors and Masters courses.
TSU is the main host of scholarly international conferences in Georgia. The following are notable: International symposia of psychologists (in 1979 and 1986, breakthrough conference for Soviet idiology on the theme of subconscious), symposia on Georgian art (II-1977, IV- 1983, VI- 1989), international symposia on the teaching of the Russian language and literature (1980, 1984, 1988), problems of German literature (1983, 1989), Classical philology (1969, 1975, 1980,1990, 1995, 1996), religion and ethics (1907, international private law (1985), international symposia on Kartvelian Studies (I-1987, II-1988, III-1995).
Caucasian studies is one of the major trends of scholarly research, having inherited rich traditions. "Caucasica", an international scholarly journal, has been published since 1998. Three international conferences have been held over the recent period on urgent issues such as, "Caucasus in the context of world history" (1996), "Peaceful Caucasus" (1998), "Caucasus at the turn of the millennia." Summer schools are regularly held for foreign scientists in Kartvelian studies (Kartvelologists).