The Educational Certification Program in Fighting Corruption was started in June, 2019 and is implemented by the Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI) for the third year in a row. The Educational Certification Program in Fighting Corruption is financially supported by the Open Society Institute Budapest Foundation (OSI) and is co-financed by the Open Society Georgia Foundation (OSGF) and by the Core Support of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida).
The Program is implemented in cooperation with Ilia State University. IDFI and Ilia State University signed the Memorandum of Cooperation in August, 2019. According to the Memorandum, the parties agreed on a number of issues regarding the execution of the project, including on administering the Program, number of Program participants, methodology of elaborating Program modules, and other important topics.
The first phase of the Program consisted of eight professional modules. The participants who were passed the modules successfully received certificates. Up to 500 applicants expressed their willingness to participate in the Program out of which 32 participants were selected for the Program. The Program participants were selected among representatives of state institutions, non-governmental and private sectors, and among the students of the higher educational institutions.
First module - Major ideas, concepts, theories & social science perspectives on corruption - with Giorgi Chkheidze, Chief of Party of USAID’s Rule of Law project (PROLoG), as the lecturer.
Second module - Good Governance - with Programs Director of IDFI Levan Avalishvili as the lecturer. Good governance module consisted of the following topics: Freedom of Information; proactive publication; decentralization; accountability; transparency of archives; public procurement and Open Governance Partnership (OGP).
Third module - Compliance in government, business and civil society; private corruption - of the program was read by the Head of the AML and Compliance Department of Bank of Georgia – Tamar Goderdzishvili. The module consisted of the following topics: clear internal policies; system of internal controls and internal reporting system; disciplinary process; training and annual certification.
Fourth module - Legal side of corruption - of the program was taught by Zurab Sanikidze, Chairperson of the Public Service Development Agency operating under the Ministry of Justice of Georgia. Legal side of corruption consisted of the following topics regulated by the international and national legislation: bribery, conflict of interest, fraud, embezzlement, and money laundering.
Fifth module - E-governance in fighting corruption - of the program was read by Nata Goderdzishvili – Head of Legal Division of Data Exchange Agency (DEA). The aim of the module was to provide the course participants with the information on issues such as: the link between good governance and e-government, delivery of public services electronically, electronic opportunities for presenting public initiatives, and participation of the society in the process of public service management using electronic platforms and online resources.
Sixth module - Corruption and Politics - of the program consisted of the following topics: campaign financing; vote buying; lobbying; conflict of interests and corruption in public sector. The module was led by Sulkhan Saladze, Chairperson of the Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA).
Seventh module - Best international practice in fighting corruption - covered various topics, including the successful experiences of different countries in fighting corruption; theories that determine the success or failure of a country; capitalism as a dominant political-economic model and its variations; the main challenges of economic transformation and development. The module was read by Giorgi Khistovani – Head of Research at Policy and Management Consulting Group (PMCG).
Eighth module - Modern whistleblowing & investigative journalism - was read by Ekaterine Tsimakuridze–one of the founders of the Democracy Index – Georgia. During the module program participants explored the following issues: the essence and significance of whistleblowing; scope of whistleblowing; the balance between a public servant's freedom of expression and a commitment to the state; the international standards of procedures for whistleblowing at public and private organizations; guarantees of protection of the whistleblower and the individuals who have equal status to him/her; protecting the anonymity of whistleblowers.
Out of the initial 32 participants (which were selected among almost 500 candidates), 19 participants received the final certificates. It is noteworthy that the final certificates are awarded to the candidates who have passed at least six modules. Out of 19 participants, 5 participants received certificates for graduating from all eight modules. Among these five – four are female, and one is male. Out of 19 participants – 16 are female, and 3 are male.
Following the end of the first phase of the Program, the renewed Memorandum of Cooperation was signed between IDFI and Ilia State University. Under the new memorandum, the Modules of the Certification Program in Fighting Corruption have been transformed into academic courses of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences of the Ilia State University. These Modules will be open to the students of the above-mentioned faculty, as well as to the Program participants selected through a competition. Students of Ilia State University will have the opportunity to receive ECTS and certificates in case of high academic achievement, while students of other universities selected as a result of the competition, representatives of the state, non-governmental and private sectors, will receive certificates upon successful completion of the program.
A total of 4 academic courses were developed within the framework of the memorandum. In particular, the Bachelor’s degree program offers several courses, including Good Governance and Corruption and Politics and Corruption, while in the Master's degree program the courses in Anti-Corruption Policy Management in Public and Private Institutions and Fight against Corruption - International Actors, Anti-Corruption Platforms are offered.
Up to 300 candidates submitted their applications. Finally, based on the selection of received applications and interviews, 20 participants were selected for the Bachelor’s degree courses, and 24 participants for the Master’s degree courses.
In contrast to the first year of the Certification Program in Fighting Corruption, and with the inclusion of the Ilia State University students who can select these academic courses per semester, up to 100 participants in total will have access to the academic courses.
On September 28, 2020, the Bachelor’s Degree academic course - Good Governance and Corruption - of the Educational Certification Program in Fighting Corruption started. The course was taught by Giorgi Chkheidze. At the same time,the Master’s Degree academic course Anti-Corruption Policy Management in Public and Private Institutions started on September 30th, with Tinatin Khidasheli as the lecturer.
Two other academic courses, “Politics and Corruption” and “Fight against Corruption - International Actors, Anti-Corruption Platforms”, of the Educational Certification Program in Fighting Corruption will be taught beginning March 2021. Among the participants of the academic courses, only those candidates who successfully pass both academic courses of the Bachelor’s degree or the Master’s Degree track will receive the Program certificates.
It should be noted that after finishing the first phase of the Program, IDFI organized three focus groups with the involvement of the participants and lecturers of the modules. The feedback received from the modules was used to update and renew the Program.
Lastly, it should be highlighted that apart from the regular lectures (which continued without interruption via electronic platforms), IDFI frequently organized open lectures for the program participants. For example, on November 26, 2020, the member of the Parliament of Georgia - Tamar Chugoshvili - held an open lecture for the participants of the Program on the establishment of an independent mechanism for fighting corruption.
IDFI will continue organizing public awareness activities in the future and will support education on the prevention of the risks of corruption.
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