Kutaisi International University (KIU), a brand new €1bn. western-style campus university in Georgia, is targeting Ghana to bolster its international student numbers. A major recruitment drive is getting underway to bring Ghanaian students to Georgia from September 2021 onwards.
KIU opened its doors in 2020. It is the first ultra-modern residential style university in the Caucasus region. It has been purposefully designed as an 'international' institution along US and European lines. Every course and programme is being developed and run in partnership with a leading international university. Its founding partner is the Technical University of Munich (TUM), rated the Best University in Europe in 2020 by QS World University Rankings.
World-class STEM provision in Georgia
To attract the brightest and best from Ghana and other emerging markets, KIU is providing a modern, residential education on a par with leading institutions around the world. KIU will major on teaching and research in Science and Technology with a view to becoming a hub for innovation and start-ups, and to equip graduates with the skills they will need to compete and thrive internationally.
KIU currently offers three Bachelor degree programmes in Computer Sciences, Mathematics and Management Studies. A fuller range of science and humanities subjects is being added and state-of-the-art science and medical research centres and laboratories are being opened in support of Masters, Doctoral, and Post-doctoral programmes.
The Research Centres will attract leading scientists and investment from around the world. Europe's leading provider of proton therapy technology for the treatment of cancer, Ion Beam Applications of Belgium, is installing a cyclotron in the University's medical research centre (Georgia and the region's first).
Commenting on the KIU's educational goals, Rector of KIU, Prof. Alexander Tevzadze, said:
Our goal is to create an international, multicultural academic environment where students receive a world-class, science-based education that will give them the opportunity to pursue careers and compete in the international labour market.
Chancellor Magda Magradze explained why Ghana is top of KIU's list for international student recruitment:
"Like Ghana, Georgia is a leading regional economy. We want to build strategic, academic partnerships to foster growth between our countries. Equally important, we want to develop personal and cultural bonds between students, and to equip them with the skills and knowledge they need to realise their own potential."
World-class education at a competitive price
In contrast to many universities which are struggling financially, KIU's mixture of private, public and philanthropic funding will enable it to provide sustained investment in courses and facilities for students as it grows. The University is funded by a €1bn. donation from the Cartu Foundation, the charitable arm of former Prime Minister of Georgia, Bidzina Ivanishvili.
KIU's funding base also means it can offer a world-class education at a significantly cheaper price than its competitors. Undergraduate tuition fees for KIU's international students are set at $5,500 per annum (which includes all teaching materials); and expected annual living costs are a further $5,000 pa. The equivalent fee at NYU Abu Dhabi for tuition alone is $48,000; and $12,000 pa at McDaniel College Europe in Budapest.
Chancellor Magda Magradze expects this to be a key factor in attracting students to KIU:
"The cost of undergraduate degrees from leading US and European universities can be eye-watering. This puts the highest quality education out of reach for most international students. We can provide the same educational standards, in some areas a higher standard, for a fraction of the cost."
International academic partnerships
KIU's operating model and course content have been developed in partnership with the Technical University of Munich(TUM), one of the world's leading universities for scientific research and teaching boasting six Humboldt professors in its current staff and 17 Nobel Prizes in its history. New partnerships with other leading international universities and research institutions will be announced in early 2021.
Eight German professors from TUM have joined KIU's full-time staff. Teaching is provided in both Georgian and English and KIU has partnered with the British Council to ensure the requisite standard of English-language provision.
The Former President of TUM, Professor Dr. Wolfgang A. Hermann, is the first Honorary President of KIU. Prof. Hermann holds honorary doctorates from 13 universities in Germany and is one of the most highly cited German chemists with more than 800 scientific publications and 80 patents.
Commenting on the partnership between KIU and TUM, Prof. Hermann said:
"Those who know Georgia will know of its rich cultural and intellectual heritage, of which KIU is destined to become an integral part. But Georgia is also emerging as an important trade partner for developed and developing countries. Our international recruitment drive will seek to connect local with international talent to make KIU a stronghold of science, technology and entrepreneurship."
KIU's International Vision
KIU's top three priorities are 'internationalisation', top quality course provision and a full spectrum 'student-life' experience. Students will enjoy a western style, 'campus' education unique in the region, with 'green' sustainable accommodation and transport infrastructure and a Youth Centre under the umbrella of the Council of Europe.
Careful consideration has been given to the demands of the international market. KIU has identified student safety and security as key concerns. These have been addressed comprehensively in the design of KIU's campus lay-out and dormitory accommodation.
Similarly, international exchange opportunities are being prioritised: KIU will participate in all the major international student and teacher exchange programmes (Erasmus+, the Fulbright Scholar Program and the German Academic Exchange Program, DAAD).
Chancellor Magradze summarized what she believes will be the attraction of KIU for international students from Ghana:
"Georgia is recognised as one of the warmest and most welcoming countries in the world. Visitors fall in love with the country and its people. During Soviet times, it was the place people went on vacation – fantastic mountains and coastline, historic cities, great weather, rich in culture, fabulous food and wine."
As Georgia's historic second city, Kutaisi also has a lot to offer students. It is a vibrant cultural centre with an international airport, flights to Budapest, Milan, London, Paris, Rome, Prague, Moscow and Barcelona, and train connections to Tbilisi and the Black Sea coast.
Chancellor Magradze summarised the attractions:
"We have a brand new, state-of-the-art campus on a greenfield site in a forest on the edge of Kutaisi and well connected to international transport terminals. In addition to the education, it is a fantastic base from which to explore Georgia, the wider Caucasus region and Europe.
Interested applicants from Ghana should visit www.kiu.edu.ge for information on the financial support packages we have in place. We look forward to welcoming our 2021 intake! A world-class education in a fantastic setting awaits."