DEVELOPMENT OF PUBLIC POLICY EDUCATION IN GEORGIA PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE

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1 DEVELOPMENT OF PUBLIC POLICY EDUCATION IN GEORGIA PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE Natia Natsvlishvili 1 Vazha Salamadze 2 Abstract The objective of this paper is to analyze evolution of the public policy education in Georgia. It offers an overview of the past developments, the present conditions and the authors vision of the future. It discusses the existing challenges of public policy programs and proposes ways to overcome these challenges. The public policy education in Georgia is quite underdeveloped. It emerged in post soviet Georgia with limited courses and programs. The Bachelors and Masters Degree programs were opened in Georgia in The programs started with limited resources and capacity. The international donor institutions were actively involved in advancing these programs. During the past ten years the programs in public policy have improved, they expanded, advanced, diversified. Other degree programs and short training courses have emerged, again with the support of international donor organizations. However, despite the growing number and improving quality of the public policy education, it still lags behind the similar programs in the west. In general, curriculum of Georgian degree programs is oriented towards offering the most basic and general skills to the students. The in-depth specialized knowledge, as well as extended research and analytical skills are not yet taught in any of these programs. The reason for Georgian public policy programs to be premature should be manifold. The paper argues that besides the general weak educational system in the country, a very significant reason for the ineffectiveness of the PP programs stems from lack of demand from public organizations for trained specialists. The state organizations do not perceive a need to hire the professional personnel since the decision making in these organizations is highly politicized. As a consequence, there is no request and support to the institutions to train and provide the qualified personnel to the state. The absence of state demand is especially dangerous since there is no tradition of similar education in Georgia. The absence of previous experience in PP education results in the absence of the adequate human and technical resources to lead the process. In most cases, Georgian public policy programs rely on the limited number of foreign-educated individuals who came back to Georgia and are able and interested to offer courses. However, the newly educated trainers are capable to enrich the course with the western theoretical knowledge, while the Georgian practical applicability is usually missing from the courses. Moreover, the instructors face lack of standard textbooks and terminology hindering the proper delivery of the courses. Finally, an important reason for underdevelopment of public policy programs is the fact that such programs usually have been offered with the international donor support. The discretionary nature and lack of coordination of donor financing has made the public policy program development unstable and unsystematic. Therefore, the further development of Georgian public policy education would rely on emergence of demand for these specialists in the public organizations. Growing demand should be able to 1 Georgian Institute of Public Affairs, Tbilisi Georgia 2 Civil Society Institute, Tbilisi, Georgia 1

2 contribute to overcoming the current technical problems and further advance the public policy education. The paper concludes that an appropriate type of state support, either financial or motivational, to the PP education would greatly enhance the possibility of the PP institutions to advance the quality of their programs. The research has been conducted by interviewing the staff-members of public policy programs, selected public officials and relevant NGO representatives. The effectiveness of the existing public policy programs has been analyzed based on the curriculum evolution, alumni placement and instructors backgrounds. The conclusions have been drawn considering the opinions of the public officials and educational institutions. 2

3 Chapter 1. Overview of the public policy education development in Georgia The public policy education in Georgia is rather new. It emerged about a decade ago in post-soviet Georgia. Two degree programs were introduced simultaneously one in Georgian Institute of Public Administration (GIPA) and another in Georgian Technical University. GIPA was established in 1994 with the participation of Government of Georgia and the US National Academy of Public Administration. The objective of GIPA was "to assist Georgia in its transition to an independent representative democracy with a market-based Institute provided training for the young generation of future Georgian public administrators" 3. GIPA started with offering a program in Public Administration, which lasted for 11 months and granted a degree of Master in Public Administration. The curriculum of the program provided students with basic understanding of public administration and public policy issues. It also touched the elements of economics, management, policy analysis. The initial program in GIPA was designed with a full participation of US faculty. It was intended, however, to gradually substitute the US lecturers with trained Georgian faculty. This proved to be harder then initially expected and even currently, GIPA continues inviting international faculty to teach some courses. During the twelve years of existence, GIPA has diversified its programs. Besides the Master in Public Administration degree, it has introduced six degree programs in the public administration field. These programs vary by emphasize and targeted audience, but all of them share common characteristics: they offer basic skills necessary for civil servants. In 1995 a new program in PP was introduced by Georgian Technical University (GTU). The department of Humanitarian and Technical Sciences of the GTU has initiated the bachelor s program in public administration 4. A master s program was added to the curriculum in A separate chair of Public Administration in GTU has been established in The Public Policy program has been added to the chair in As evidenced by the curriculum, the GTU has also improved and advanced the program over time. It increased the number of courses offered since the kick-off of the program, invited new faculty, added the distance learning program, etc. The education, however, still remains at the basic level. The curriculum of this program complies with the unified GTU standards and therefore includes a number of university-wide courses (common in Georgia). This leaves less time for more specialized courses and accordingly affects the effectiveness of the program in the PP field. Furthermore, the specialized courses offered in the program are limited to a basic material. There are no courses that offer the advanced understanding of the subject. Therefore, even though, the degree programs offered by GIPA or the GTU are a major step forwards toward the development of the PP/PA education in Georgia, these programs can be characterized as a premature. There is a significant scope towards improving the current standards of the education in Georgia. It should be noted, that besides the degree programs, there have been numerous institutions in Georgia offering different courses related to the PP area. The most famous courses are offered by the Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies. The program is called Public policy 3 GIPA web site: 4 A more detailed information on the program is available at: 3

4 knowledge network and it was introduced in It aims to increase the qualification for existing public servants and promote the best practices in Public administration. The students are educated in the following modules: Legal Framework for Policy Development, Government Structures and Processes, Critical Steps in Public Policy, Gender Analysis, Crafting Policy Paper, Economics for Public Policy, Ethics, Project Management, Research Policy, Program Evaluation, Cost Benefit Analysis, Strategic Planning and Management, Contemporary Challenges and Government Policy. On the related subject, the GFSIS has also been offering the training program in International Relations and National Security. The program is jointly taught by Georgian and international experts and includes courses in Economics, international relations, globalization, policy analysis, etc. Yet another type of courses have been offered by the Strategic Research Center and Civil Society Institute. The courses on public administration and policy analysis were designed specifically for current civil servants, who need to improve their expertise. The training was limited to overview of the material, due to time and resource constraints. Even though, the programs were considered as highly successful and there was a growing demand for the attendance, the courses could not continue due to lack of resources. There have been some other smaller scale trainings and programs conducted by various organizations at various times. These courses, however, did not make much contribution to the overall development of the PP education in Georgia due to their small scale and short life. It is also notable, that these programs have been based and concentrated on the capital of Georgia Tbilisi, and the regions of the country have been largely left without any attention. Despite the pressing need and desire in the regions, this population has been deprived of the possibility to expand their capacity in the PP field. Indeed, it has been very hard for the vast majority of regional population to regularly travel to the capital and attend the courses. The state has tried to relieve this problem and just recently introduced a Public Administration school in the western part of Georgia Kutaisi, designed primarily for the regional population and ethnic minorities. The school is focused on continued education of public servants and provides courses in public policy analysis, management, basics of economics and legal framework of administration. Chapter 2. Effectiveness of the current system As the description of the existing PP/PA programs demonstrates, the current educational system in Georgia is obviously much ineffective then the similar programs in the western developed countries. Graduate of a Georgian public policy program can hardly claim to have received the all-inclusive education and to be ready to assume a responsible position in the state sector. Indeed, an analysis of Georgian PP program s curriculum demonstrates, that a student of Georgian program has much limited potential to master the subject then its western counterpart. The public policy schools in the west have long ago passed the state of presenting only the basic information on the subject. The standard western schools in public policy offer a very extensive understanding of the subject and furthermore a specialization in a particular policy fields. In particular, the western programs initially underline the standard minimum requirements that institutes request each students to master. These requirements are commonly summarized under the core curriculum of the program. The core curriculum provides students with quite a comprehensive understanding of the most important issues as perceived by institutes. 4

5 Besides the core curriculum, the programs offer students wide range of topics, that student can choose to master by their desire. These topics include, for example, international security, economic policy, educational policy, health policy, and many others. By choosing the interesting topic to specialize, a student gets a detailed perspective in the selected field. Thus, the student can consider himself the expert in the chosen field, as well as a specialist in a more general pp, or PA issue. This specialization assures students that they have received a comprehensive education and therefore helps them to expand their capacities at the job market. And lastly, the students in the western programs have an opportunity to exercise and improve their research skills. The research capacity is a major assets that students master in the western graduate programs. Graduates of Georgian public policy/administration programs are, unfortunately, deprived many of these possibilities. Georgian graduates cannot usually specialize in policy fields. There are no extensive specialized courses, that would ensure that students receive an overarching knowledge in the selected policy area. Furthermore, the core courses taught at the programs, are much more superficial and much less extensive then the similar courses in the west. A graduate of the public administration/policy field gets only a limited overview of the public policy subject (such as introductory economics, management or international affairs). As many of the program graduates accept, this basic knowledge does not enable them to feel themselves as fullscale experts in the subjects, rather it gives them the basic understanding of existing terms and main concepts. The existing Georgian programs offer very limited research capacity. Even though there are requirements for the students to undertake research (in separate courses or to complete the diploma) the institutions lack the material base which is necessary for a quality research. The libraries and electronic resources are limited. Most of the faculty is invited form outside, therefore are not available to students to supervise their research. Unlike institutions in the west, there are limited research projects ongoing in the institutions, where students can get involved. The demonstration of the existing problems is the fact that many of the GIPA (and other program) graduates after graduation strive to continue their education in the west, by participating at various scholarship/exchange programs. About 15 percent of each GIPA graduating class has left Georgia to continue studies at various programs, and even more applied to such programs. This is a very high number compared to a standard graduating class. This indicates that GIPA is not able to completely meet the student expectations due to limited effectiveness of their programs. Even though, the evolution of the PP programs over the last decade has been impressive, it is clear, that it still has a long way to go. Georgia s educational system needs to overcome numerous challenges to reach the standards of the western institutions. There are a number of reasons for the underdevelopment of the current programs. First of all it should be admitted that the entire educational system in the country is undergoing transition and is therefore weak. Currently the high school do not prepare students well enough to master the comprehensive bachelor s level courses. Accordingly the standards of the bachelor s level education has been deteriorating. As a result, the graduates of the bachelor s programs are not prepared enough to follow an extensive Masters degree education As an example, we have frequently faced the challenge to teach quantitative methods of policy analysis to a class where a predominant number of students have a very weak understanding of basic algebra. So, we have faced a need to explain the class the basic multiplication and division 5

6 rules and have usually been left with less time to give it a comprehensive understanding of the subject matter. Secondly, the lack of previous experience of PP/PA education contributes to providing inadequate program coverage. Due to lack of experience there are no many professional lecturers, the study materials, textbooks, or cases in Georgian language or applicable to Georgian reality. The interviews with all institutions involved in the PP education indicate that these issues are among the major challenges they face. In particular, there are only a very few Georgian lecturers who are capable and willing to deliver the western-standard courses in PP/PA field. Georgian language study materials can be counted on fingers and the English language textbooks are not easily accessible to all students. To overcome the challenge of limited lecturers, many institutions have resorted to a practice of inviting experts from abroad. This, however, is associated with further problems. The invited experts do not usually have the necessary acquaintance with Georgian reality. Nor is it easy to coordinate the course timings with the hectic schedules of international experts. Therefore, there are frequent occasions when the institution has to invite the expert who would not be the first choice of the institute in other circumstances and the expert adds little value to the program. Furthermore, the English language lectures are fluently accessible to only a limited audience of Georgian students. The invited experts, therefore, can only benefit a small portion of the students. The rest of the Georgian students depend extensively on the capacity and effectiveness of limited number of domestic lecturers. Besides the fact that there are not enough professionals to deliver lectures at the institutes, the existing lecturers face numerous challenges hindering the effective delivery of the courses. Our personal experience, as well as all the lecturers interviewed by us point out the scarcity of proper study materials as among the most important challenges they face. As many Georgian students do not understand foreign languages (usually English) as well as to read and comprehend the textbooks, the lecturers have to limit the material coverage to only those scarce resources that are available in Georgian. Further, if the class understands English language well, another type of challenge emerges: The class that learns from foreign sources needs to understand and comprehend the applicability to Georgia in the materials. The described deficiencies of the program are also perceived by the job market. We conducted analysis which demonstrated that graduate of western PP/PA programs are more competitive at the job market then Georgian graduates. The analysis of the placement of foreign and local program alumni shows that the foreign graduates usually get higher positions in public, non-governmental and private sectors and are more frequently paid higher salaries. Under the analysis, we have conducted study of alumni placement comparing two control groups: First the graduates of PP/PA field of Muskie/FSA graduate programs, and second the graduates of GIPA English language Public administration masters degree program. Certainly, there are a number of other program alumni in Georgia but we selected these two groups as we believe, that the trends prevailing in these groups will be well applicable to other groups. The graduates of the selected GIPA program are supposed to receive the best quality education provided by GIPA, as this program is the oldest one and still has the highest participation from western scholars. The study included the statistical information on over 300 GIPA graduates and about 50 Muskie graduates. The graduate workplaces were divided among five broad categories Public Sector, Private sector, International Organization, Local NGO and Unemployed. Further, the positions were divided 6

7 among three categories - high, middle and low positions, and similarly salaries were divided among high, medium and low salaries. In fact, getting the salary information and reliable division into categories is the most controversial issues. We approached the challenge the following way: It is certain, that the highest salaries are paid in international organizations, in particular, UN, USAID, Embassies, the World Bank, IMF, while the lowest salaries are paid to the junior officials in the state sector. The salaries in business sector ranges in between, with quite high gap between the high ranked and low-ranked employees. The division by salary categories were conducted based on the subjective judgment about alumni s workplace and position. Considering both factors in salary estimate was key, since the salary does not correlate perfectly with either organization or position. For example, even the lowest position employees at the international organizations receive usually twice as high salaries as high ranked civil servants. One drawback of the proposed result is that some data were missing or are possibly outdated. To correct for this error, we tried to adjust all data known to us. Further, all GIPA graduates who participated in any of the western programs were removed from the sample, as they become representative of foreign-educated individuals and no more served for our purpose. The analysis demonstrated that the MUSKIE graduates are almost exclusively located at the highest side of the salary scale, while majority of GIPA graduates can be attributed to medium to lower salary scale [Figure 1]. The result is not surprising, since it can be assumed that Muskie graduates consider themselves as competitive at the international level, since their diplomas and education is accepted internationally. Therefore, they demand the jobs that offer higher salaries then the candidates, who do not think themselves competitive internationally. Figure 1: Distribution of GIPA and Muskie alumni according to salary 100% 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% Salary Scale GIPA MUSKIE High Medium Low The higher salary scale of the Muskie graduates correlates closely with the fact that predominant number of Muskie alumni is employed in the international organizations [Figure 2]. 7

8 Figure 2: Distribution of GIPA and Muskie alumni according to workplace NGO 9% Unemployed 11% GIPA State 34% NGO 13% MUSKIE State sector 17% Business 7% IO 20% Business 26% IO 63% Only very few of Muskie alumni have accepted positions at the state sector. The similar figure for GIPA graduates is higher, but it can be argued that this happens because GIPA graduates accept lower-standard positions then Muskie graduates, in general. The low participation of the graduates in the state sector, however, should be worrisome and provide an indicative signal of the attitude of professionals towards the state sector. In line with the described results, the analysis also demonstrates that Muskie graduates more predominantly occupy high and medium ranged positions, if compared to the GIPA graduates [Figure 3]. Figure 3: Distribution of GIPA and Muskie alumni according to occupied position 60% Position Scale 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% High Medium Low GIPA MUSKIE The placement statistics also demonstrates, that the most highly qualified candidates usually avoid occupying public sector positions. Georgian public sector is probably not ready to offer the relevant positions to these professionals. Two major reasons can be drawn to explain the unattractiveness of the state sector to the alumni: Relatively low salaries offered by the public sector and the politicized 8

9 decision-making system in the sector. Indeed, despite the significant increase of the salary scale in the public sector, it still lags much behind of the market salary for similar professionals. In addition, the decision-making in the public sector is still highly centralized and politicized. Therefore, the public sector decisions are based on political rationales, rather then optimal choices. Therefore, there is no need to employ the personnel who would be willing and able to offer and elaborate professional decisions As a consequence, Georgia s public sector does not demonstrate demand for highly qualified and educated professionals. The public institutions are not, even, interested to exploit the benefits of hiring educated specialists as unpaid interns. The attitude of state organizations towards interns offered by GIPA MPA programs has usually ranged from plain rejection to indifference: A vast majority of students who undertook internships characterize their supervisors as very inattentive. Interns have not usually given serious work to do. So after a day or two attending the internships, the interns lose interests in their workplace and limit their attendance to the internship. There have been hardly any cases, when interns were asked to stay at the job and continue working there. The various institutions also indicated, that while there may be a demonstrated assurance of state organizations to get qualified personnel, in practice almost nothing is being done to exercise this will. The fact that there is no demand of educated professionals in the public sector has a repercussion on the quality of the public policy education. Indeed, since the public sector does not demand such professionals, the institutes do not have an appropriate support from the state sector. In general, the appropriate state policy towards developing the PP education is missing. As a result, state basically overlooks financial and incentive support to the PP education. Lack of financial support from the state sector stemming from lack of demand of professionals, leave the institutions on their own to look for finances and improve the quality of their education. Student contributions are, similarly, limited, because students also lack incentives to invest in the public policy / PA education. Students also realize that the state sector is not ready to accept their education as adequate and employ them with satisfactory conditions. The limited financial resources make it necessary for the institutions to rely on other sources, such as international donor support. International support, has indeed been the major force that keeps Georgian PP/PA education alive. This support, however, has had its deficiencies, the major of which, is that donor assistance in this sphere, as in many others in Georgia, is usually extended over a short period of time, lacks coordination and coherency. Various donors support various PP/PA educational programs, however, they have hardly been aware of each others involvements. There have been instances, when the same task has been replicated few times and another important issue missed the attention. Besides, it is also well acknowledged that all donors pursue their own agendas and there are examples, when the quality of the work done with the donor support has been inadequate. In particular, there are a number of translated textbooks, with such a low quality translation, that it is counterproductive to use these text books in classes. The quality of the job evidently suffers, if it is implemented in order to disburse the yearly allocated resources with no clear attention to the value of the product. This criticism, however, should not be understood the way, that Georgia does not need international support and the country can deal with its problem entirely on its own. The donor support has done and can clearly do much good for development of the PP education in Georgia. This paper only argues for the need that the donor activities be coordinated and be put in use towards the general PP education development strategy. Therefore, the main challenges towards improving the PP education in Georgia can be summarized as follows: 9

10 1. A general weak educational system in Georgia, providing the weak background to students who wish to master the PP later on. 2. Lack of appreciation of such education in state sector and respectively, lack of demand for such trained officials. 3. Lack of secure employment opportunities for graduates and resulting low interest to pursue quality education in this field. 4. Lack of previous experience of such education and therefore lack of human resources, textbooks, adapted literature, cases. 5. Lack of regular financial support to the programs; Uncoordinated nature of donor support. Chapter 3. Challenges towards improving the effectiveness Development of the highly professional PP education and raising the demand for educated professionals is the recursive process. Raised demand would help improving the quality of the education, but improved quality from its side can be one of the major prerequisites for higher demand in this field. There is a need to break this vicious circle. It is not an easy process as the developments in Georgia has already demonstrated, but it is undoubtedly an attainable objective. To reach the set objective, the country needs to undertake numerous decisive measures. First and foremost would be implementing a general education system reform. The reform is necessary to improve the standards of secondary and university education. The reform is ongoing in this direction and it consists of various components, including the advancement of secondary education, improvement of the university admission procedures and advancement of standards of university education. We hope that these measures would eventually bring the visible results for the country. However, even before the restructuring of Georgian educational system is completed, we think it is possible to undertake a set of concrete measures that would ensure advancement of the PP/PA education in the country. These measured can be expressed in design of the state policy towards development of the PP education in Georgia. The state policy on PP education is necessary, since the education in general, and PP education in particular is a public good and therefore a certain doze of state intervention to advance the PP education may be acceptable. It is moreover true, when it becomes evident, that the PP education without any state intervention hardly develops itself to advanced standards. It can, therefore, be concluded that the state policy should contain a number of components: The financial assistance to developing the PP education: Georgia has already undertook the first step in this direction with introducing the Kutaisi School of Public Administration, however, this may not be enough to achieve the objective. The competitive support should be offered to the institutions operating in this area or educational programs. It is important, however, that the financial support to the development of PP programs be designed the way to make this support most targeted and effective. The programs should be required to satisfy the set requirements and compete for the allocations. For instance, the programs could be required to continually advance the curriculum or introduce a certain number of high-quality courses. Such an approach may stimulate institutes to constantly develop and advance their programs in seeking the financial support. This would also ensure the competition among different programs, which is also a prerequisite for their development. 10

11 Using the domestic educational resources more effectively: The other possible way of developing the PP education might be related to a more effective use of the professionals existing in the country. Even though, there are not many such professionals, it is still possible to use the existing ones more effectively. They should be mobilized to serve as driving forces behind improving the PP education. They should be encouraged to elaborate new courses and curricula, produce Georgia s relevant textbooks and intensify research within the institutes. The existing specialists may train and raise the future lecturers to expand the number of the individuals capable of delivering the PP courses. The current PP institutions could take lead in this process, since this would clearly benefit their existing programs. Although, the current organizations hardly perceive these measures as the current market structure does not provide them the incentives to continuously advance their programs. Currently, institutes have been more oriented towards diversifying their services and providing more programs to attract more students and survive financially. This, some times, comes on the expense of quality of the diversified courses: Indeed, there are problems to attract professional instructors and this challenge increases in line with the number of programs. The opportunity of advancement of courses is sacrificed, since invited lecturers become forced to spend their time on delivering the same courses repeatedly, and have no time left to work on improving a selected course. Placement of a special emphasize on developing the education in the regions: The majority of the Georgian population reside in regions and has very limited possibility to enjoy the benefits of the PP education. It is also notable, that regions especially feel the lack of the professionals to complete the job. The state, therefore, should start paying an especial attention to the growing the professionals and transferring the benefits of the PP education to the regions to Georgia. There is a possibility to encourage on-the job trainings, or support opening the training centers in the regions. Coordination of donor activities: Finally, the way to improving the PP education might be coordinating the various donor assistance in this direction. There are a number of donors in Georgia that are interested to support development of education and development of public policy/administration field. These donors have been quite disorganized in the past and it would clearly be desirable to coordinate the efforts of donor organizations and achieve synergy in this field. There are a number of issues that can be addressed if an appropriate financial support is available. These are, for example: lack of textbooks; lack of properly translated materials; lack of specialized courses; lack of long-term courses, lack of training of trainers programs, etc. The donor support is able to fill these existing gaps. With a proper coordination they would not replicate each others activities but rather address the most urgent needs in the PP education. Although, if the state starts pursuing the proposed policies, it should be aware of the negative implications of such interventionist approach. The guaranteeing nature of support to either institutes or graduates may, in fact, result in lowering standards of education, as most of the state interventionist policies have done. Therefore, it is crucial to enforce competition among different programs and graduates, in line with granting the support. The state policy should be designed in a way as not to give wrong message, but rather to indicate to the public, that the state is interested and willing to promote the PP education. It is also notable that implementing such policies would require not only financial commitment, but also significant technical and time commitment. The state should reserve proper human resources to deal with this task properly. It should also be accepted that locating the appropriate personnel and implementing this task appropriately might be yet another challenge confronting the state. 11

12 Overcoming this challenge is, certainly, a possibility by employing the existing educated human resources the most effective possible way. Conclusion The public policy education in Georgia has been introduced in mid 1990 th. Since then, the PP/PA education has evolved and advanced. The new programs have been introduced, new courses added to the curriculum, new professionals trained as lecturers. Overall, about 1,500 students have received the professional education in PP/PA field in Georgia. Besides the visible progress in this field, there still remains important problems hindering the adequate development of the Georgian PP/PA programs and making them closer to the western standards. The analysis demonstrates, that the major problems include a general weak educational system in Georgia; absence of state demand and state interest in training the professional public servants; absence of previous experience in PP/PA education and lack of coordination among the donor organizations aiming at improving the standards of the PP/PA education. Due to the large extent of these challenges, the organizations have not been able to fully overcome the problems without the assistance. The institutes do need help to improve the quality of the PP education. It is advisable, that this support comes from state, since the state is the priority recipient of the benefits from PP educated professionals. The state should design the PP education policy which would provide institutions the proper incentives to improve their programs, attract the existing professionals to advance the programs, coordinate donors and in general show the need and respect for highly qualified professionals. 12

13 References: List of persons interviewed during the research: Ketevan Melikadze SRC Ekaterine Metreveli - GFSIS Maka Ioseliani - GIPA Archil Mestvirishvili _NBG Vladimer Kharatishvili - Chancellery David Lezhava GTU Giorgi Geguchadze - Parliament We would like to express our deep gratitude to each of the listed individuals for their support to our research. Besides, we are grateful to our current and former students from GIPA (and XXX) for their insights and comments on our numerous questions. GIPA and American Councils administrations has generously provided their alumni databases for our analysis and made a very valuable contribution to this paper. 13

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