Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Ministry of Education/Bureaucracy

Although I have been attending classes at TSMU for almost 6 weeks now, I am still not officially enrolled. When I submitted my application materials to the University in mid-August, the head of Admissions informed me that all applicants must be approved by the Ministry of Education in order to be admitted. I wasn't worried at the time because I knew I was a well-qualified applicant (having already completed two years of college--most of the applicants just graduated from secondary school) and had gone through all the bureaucratic mess (or so I thought) of among other things, getting an official transcript sent to Georgia, translated, and notarized.

But when I returned to Georgia at the end of September, I discovered that my application still hadn't been approved. I was told that my application couldn't be approved until my transcript was verified. What?! The whole point of having an official transcript (one that was translated and notarized to boot) is to avoid having to verify its authenticity. I didn't take much action, thinking that this bureaucratic mess would just untangle itself; after all, many of my classmates were in the same situation and they had to be admitted sooner or later, right? Moreover, for me, being a student at TSMU is just a small part of my whole Georgia experience--no big deal if it doesn't work out for some reason. But for my classmates, this was a big deal. They had come from as far as India with the sole intent of studying medicine--not to experience Georgian culture or to learn Georgian--and yet the University, now six weeks into the semester, still has not given the word on their admission. We are in a bureaucratic limbo.

That's why last Wednesday a fellow classmate and I decided to go in person to the Ministry of Education and get some real answers. I went armed with phone and fax numbers of the Office of the Registrar at the UofC (having also sent them emails describing my situation) and another official copy of my transcript. But I hardly needed anything. A woman named Maia apparently held all the decision making power, and when I showed her my official transcript (which they already had) that I had brought, she said that I should have no problem being approved. The same went for my classmate. I almost wish there would have been more of a struggle because then I could feel as though I had accomplished something; instead, I left with an even greater distaste for bureaucracy and its inefficiency.

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