Project: Education Financing System and Equity in Georgia
The project was implemented with the financial support of USAID in the framework of the EWMI’s program GPAC.
Project Description - Meeting the equal-opportunity challenge in education requires funding all public or non-public schools at levels sufficient to provide a curriculum in a broad range of subject areas, delivered by well trained teachers, and supported by effective school and district leaders. It also requires sufficient funds which are wisely distributed among all those schools serving high numbers of low-income students of Georgia represented in about 45 percentage students who receive social assistance or are engaged in one of the social program as well as including ethnic minority students and students with other special needs. The project aims to examine the effectiveness and efficiency of recent education reforms focusing on equity and quality from financing perspectives, survey the existing gaps in implementation process of the reforms, provide evidence based recommendations and develop public policy for wide discussion and advocacy.
The overall purpose: Support an equity and social justice in education system of Georgia while examining effectiveness and efficiency of recent reforms from financing perspectives, its implications on education quality and equal accessibility and putting comprehensive analysis and evidence based recommendations for positive changes.
The specific objectives of the project:
• Initiating a comparative research of school financing formula and rationale for per-capita financing criteria against an equal opportunity for all students
• Increase civil participation of scientists, researchers, experts, NGO representatives and wider public in elaboration of public policies and its advocacy
• Develop alternative financing formula per-capita where all the findings of the research are reflected and the components of the formula, components' share and overall principles of the school financing are adjusted to real needs of the schools
• Develop recommendation package for advancing financing system of schools for equitable and just education for all
• Elaborate an effective strategy for communicating and advocacy of the developed recommendation packages to all stakeholders
• To put equal opportunities policy change through better financing system in the agenda of governmental structures.
The beneficiaries of the project are:
• Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia and respective national centers by the ministry – were provided with the policy papers and legislative recommendations for enhancing the education policy
• More than 470 public and private schools principals across the country
• App. 24 students and 24 teachers participated in FGD and expressed their position towards the equity and social justice issues for education opportunities.
Indirect beneficiaries of the project are:
• More than 2200 schools positively impacted by the results, findings, new formula recommendations and public policies elaborated within the project
• App. 560 000 students and more than 78 000 teachers will benefit from the better financing system and guaranteed quality education opportunities
• Scholars and individual researchers, NGO and think tanks, specialists of education policy and political parties – who were actively engaged in discussion of the ongoing education financing policy with emphasis on equity.
• Desk-research/document review: reports review of budget planning and budget spending reports submitted by the selected (440) public school administrations to the ministry (period 2009-2013).
• Face-To-Face Stakeholder Interviews: Interviews with school principals, directors of Regional Education Resource Centers as well as 6 deep interviews with the representatives of relevant departments of Ministry of Education and Science were conducted. 440 principals of the selected public schools from all regions of Georgia were surveyed through standardized questionnaire evaluating the school financing system, management and administration rules as well as how it ensures equal opportunities to all students regardless of geographical location, school size and infrastructure.
• Focus Group Discussions with students of basic and secondary grade in Zugdidi (West Georgia), in Marneuli (East Georgia) and in Akhlakalaki (South East Georgia); Three Focus Group Discussions with teachers of different subjects in Batumi, in Telavi and in Akhaltsikhe.
The following activities were carried out for public participation and advocacy:
• Round tables and meetings with all stakeholders were held in the framework of the project. Concrete cases, international practice, critical opinions were provided during 10 meetings and 2 round tables embedding representatives of MoES, education committee by the parliament, NGOs and think-tanks, education professionals and economists.
• Talk shows about project results were organized in radio "Tavisupleba" and radio 1 showing financial system of education from different perspectives, raising awareness of broad society on financial system of education and making it engaged in policy discussions.
• Final report on research results and alternative financing formula, recommendations and policy paper to diverse stakeholders was published in Georgian and English languages.
• Final presentation of the project outcomes was held by CCIIR. The results were presented to approximately 50 stakeholders including beneficiaries, government officials, policy makers, partner organizations and general public.