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The partners, along with the strengths and potential weaknesses that they bring to the table are as follows: 

Georgian Technical University:

GTU was formed in 1923, and is the primary technical training university in Georgia.  It is acclaimed as the main technical and higher engineering education institution in the Republic of Georgia.  It is the largest university in Georgia, with over 26,000 students and 2,000 faculty.  It has been chosen by the Ministry of Education and Science to implement the 12 Professional Learning Centres (PLC) in rural communities because of its excellent reputation and previous experience in managing satellite campuses.  Gori Campus: The GTU satellite campus in Gori has been designated as the first college site to be developed as a PLC, and is currently undergoing extensive renovations to this end.  The population of Gori is approximately 70,000, with the unemployment rate varying from 60 to 65%.  Consequently about 70% of the residents earn below living wage.  There are 2 fruit processing factories which provide 400-500 jobs.  Despite, or because of, the severe conditions in the region the government is considering making Gori the centre of the regional economic development, which ensures that adequate attention will be paid to all aspects of economic development, including professional education.


The university is well respected, connected to the Ministry, and staff and faculty are well qualified, dedicated individuals.  It is my assumption that GTU was chosen to spearhead this initiative precisely because of its stellar reputation and popularity with students.  PLC’s are a new concept; the connection to GTU should provide the credibility to smooth the transition.


Ministry of Education and Science:

The successful implementation of Professional Learning Centres is of critical importance to the Ministry.  Downsizing to under 100 universities from 200 was a radical, and in some sectors, unpopular move.  The launch and development of the 12 PLCs is also new and an unknown concept.  It must be done quickly and well.  The projected commitment to open in Gori for September 2007 must be met and good programming in place to garner credibility.  Our three contacts at the Ministry, Archil Samadashvilli, Head of Policy and Strategy department, His assistant Shorena Japaradize, and Bela Tsipuria, Deputy Minister, are all extremely knowledgeable, effective individuals who are totally committed to this project.


Selkirk College:

The first rural community college in BC created by public referendum forty years ago, SC remains an integral part of its rural communities, and is recognized as a key player in community economic development for its region.  The Regional Innovation Chair for Community Economic Development will be used a resource for this project.  SC is well positioned to support train the trainer programs, provide curriculum and assistance to the adaptation in the to-be-identified fields (although omitted in the Rector’s letter of support, will probably include Environmental planning in the area of water management), and to nurture the development of student governance at GTU.  SC, as a leader in distance education course/program development, is particularly well positioned to provide training to developers of on line curriculum.


Thompson Rivers University:

In April 2005, Thompson Rivers University, based in Kamloops, British Columbia, became Canada's newest university. It was originally created in 1970 as a community college, and granted university-college status in 1989.  TRU is a different kind of university. It is a primarily undergraduate, teaching-focused institution with the distinct advantage of offering students a complete range of programs, from Masters and Bachelor degrees to diplomas, certificates, technology and trades and developmental programs.  TRU is also considered the centre for BC’s online courses and programs.  It is this unique combination of background and experience that makes TRU the logical partner for this project.