Disinformation, as if the European Union is Demanding the Removal of Hagiography from the School Curriculum

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Reading Time: 4 minutes


On January 25, former military Ermile Nemsadze claimed in a live stream that the European Union demands Georgia to completely remove hagiography from school materials. According to Nemsadze, “emptying the Georgian school of religious issues” is a demand of the European Union.

Ermile Nemsadze: [Gia Murghulia] states that it is possible to reduce the scope of hagiographic works in schools and introduce modern literature instead. First of all, I want to tell you that instead of being reduced, it should be completely removed – this is the request of the European Union – the Georgian school should be completely emptied of religious issues”.

hagiographia Disinformation, as if the European Union is Demanding the Removal of Hagiography from the School Curriculum

The claim as if the European Union demands Georgia to remove hagiographic works from textbooks and that the school must be emptied of religious issues is disinformation. In fact, the recommendations of the European Union do not concern the mentioned issues – the information was confirmed to “Myth Detector” by the Ministry of Education and the representative office of the European Union in Georgia.

“Myth Detector” contacted the Ministry of Education of Georgia with a question about the recommendations. As the ministry explains, the curriculum is established by the Ministry of Education and the European Union does not participate in the mentioned process. According to the Ministry, although the European Union issues recommendations to member states regarding higher education, it does not take part in drawing up the school curriculum – especially in the matter of what content should be taught at school.

The representation of the European Union in Georgia explained to “Myth Detector” that the European Union has no recommendations regarding school textbooks, including the teaching of Georgian literature, “because this is only the responsibility of the experts working on the national curriculum together with the Ministry of Education of Georgia.”

Georgia has received recommendations for receiving the candidate status twice. 12 recommendations were given to Georgia on June 23, 2022, when Ukraine and Moldova received candidate status, and the European Council recognized Georgia’s European perspective. The 12 priorities do not say anything about the education system. The recommendations were about:

  • Addressing the issue of political polarisation;
  • Guaranteeing the full functioning of all state institutions, strengthening their independent and effective accountability as well as their democratic oversight functions;
  • Implementing a transparent and effective judicial reform strategy and action plan;
  • Strengthening the independence of the Anti-Corruption Agency, in particular, to address high-level corruption cases;
  • Implementing the commitment to “de-oligarchisation;” 
  • Strengthening the fight against organized crime, notably by ensuring rigorous investigations;
  • Undertaking stronger efforts to guarantee a free, professional, pluralistic, and independent media environment;
  • Move swiftly to strengthen the protection of human rights of vulnerable groups; 
  • Consolidating efforts to enhance gender equality and fight violence against women;
  • Ensuring the involvement of civil society in decision-making processes at all levels;
  • Adopt legislation so that Georgian courts proactively take into account European Court of Human Rights judgments in their deliberations;
  • Ensure that an independent person is given preference in the process of nominating a new Public Defender (Ombudsperson).

On November 8, 2023, the European Commission recommended Georgia to receive the candidate status. The country also received 9 reservations, some of which continued the 12 recommendations made last year. For example, a new recommendation is to combat disinformation and foreign information manipulation about the EU and its values. Reservations include:

  • Fight disinformation and foreign information manipulation and interference against the EU and its values.
  • Improve Georgia’s alignment with the EU common foreign and security policy.
  • Further address the issue of political polarisation, including through more inclusive legislative work with opposition parties in Parliament, notably on legislation related to Georgia’s European integration.
  • Ensure a free, fair and competitive electoral process, notably in 2024, and fully address OSCE/ODIHR recommendations. Finalise electoral reforms, including ensuring adequate representation of the electorate, well in advance of election day.
  • Further improve the implementation of parliamentary oversight notably of the security services. Ensure institutional independence and impartiality of key institutions, notably the Election Administration, the National Bank, and the Communications Commission.
  • Complete and implement a holistic and effective judicial reform, including a comprehensive reform of the High Council of Justice and the Prosecutor’s Office, fully implementing Venice Commission recommendations and following a transparent and inclusive process.
  • Further address the effectiveness and ensure the institutional independence and impartiality of the Anti-Corruption Bureau, the Special Investigative Service and the Personal Data Protection Service. Address Venice Commission recommendations related to these bodies, in an inclusive process. Establish a strong track record in investigating -corruption and organised crime cases.
  • Improve the current action plan to implement a multi-sectorial, systemic approach to de-oligarchisation, in line with Venice Commission recommendations and following a transparent and inclusive process involving opposition parties and civil society
  • Improve the protection of human rights including by implementing an ambitious human rights strategy and ensuring freedom of assembly and expression. Launch impartial, effective and timely investigations in cases of threats against safety of vulnerable groups, media professionals and civil society activists, and bring organisers and perpetrators of violence to justice. Consult and engage with civil society, allowing for their meaningful involvement in legislative and policymaking processes and ensure they can operate freely.

On January 25, the consultant to the Minister of Education, Science and Youth, Gia Murghulia, in an interview with Interpressnews, talked about the possible reduction of the scope of teaching hagiographic works and the introduction of teaching modern literature instead. As Murghulia explained later, there is no question of removing hagiography from the school curriculum and removing it altogether, according to him, “no one is talking about including such modern literature in the school curriculum, which is of insufficient artistic value or of dubious reputation.” According to the post of the Minister’s consultant, only a question was raised about the teaching of hagiographic texts with a better methodology, and the issue of removing any text has not been officially raised, nor has a decision been made.

About the Source 

 Ermile Nemsadze is a former military and a former member of the far-right group “Georgian March”. He is infamous for his homophobia, hate speech, and anti-Western messages. The disinformation spread by Ermile Nemsadze on various topics was verified by “Myth Detector” several times in the past (1, 2, 3).

The article has been written in the framework of Facebook’s fact-checking program. You can read more about the restrictions that Facebook may impose based on this article via this link. You can find information about appealing or editing our assessment via this link.

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Topic: Education
Violation: Disinformation

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