CHISINAU, January 28, 2014 – Moldova launched today the first grant in the framework of the Global Partnership for Social Accountability (GPSA), a World Bank-administered initiative that aims to support reforms in the country’s education sector. The grant, in the amount of US $696 thousand, is implemented by the Moldovan independent think-tank EXPERT-GRUP, and focuses on supporting ongoing reforms in the education sector.
Improving the quality of the education system is one of the main priorities for the country, and the Government of Moldova, with support from the World Bank-financed Moldova Education Reform Project, is implementing comprehensive reforms with the overall objective of improving the quality, efficiency, and evidence-based policymaking.
The project “Empowered Citizens Enhancing Accountability of the Education Reform and Quality of Education in Moldova” will support the Government’s education reform program by increasing social accountability through the inclusion of citizens in monitoring the impact of reforms and budget allocations to education. The overall objective of this five-year initiative is to empower Moldovan citizens to engage local, regional and national authorities in evidence-based policy and budget dialogue regarding educational reform, quality of educational services, and development priorities of schools, as well as enable an environment in which social accountability initiatives thrive and develop. It will support an estimated sixty-five thousand students, parents, and staff in approximately 100 schools, in addition to regional civil society organizations (CSOs) local communities and local public authorities. Increased citizen participation in the reform process aims to strengthen the quality of education.
“Currently, parents and communities in Moldova are mostly uninformed about school performance”, said Abdoulaye Seck, World Bank Country Manager for Moldova. ”This means that key stakeholders have a limited ability to hold schools and teachers accountable for lack of quality or inefficient use of resources. Addressing this challenge is critical in the context of the Government of Moldova’s ongoing education reform efforts given the increased autonomy in managing resources granted to schools.”
In light of this, the project has the following specific objectives:
- Facilitate engagement of local stakeholders in approximately 100 schools using social accountability tools and promoting a dialogue on school budgets;
- Improve the flow of information from users of education services on the performance of those services to local and national authorities;
- Promote the use of social accountability tools as inputs into formal education budgetary processes;
- Inform the public about the impact of wider economic and financial conditions on the educational sector and reforms;
- Support the Ministry of Education and other policy stakeholders in improving the quality of data to better support an evidence-based policymaking process.
”The most appropriate tool for ensuring the sustainability and efficiency of any reform is to engage its stakeholders in the whole process, and the educational sector reform should not be an exception”, said Adrian Lupusor, Executive Director of EXPERT-GRUP. ”GPSA can serve as a fundamental mechanism for involving students, parents, teachers and the whole community in the on-going educational sector reforms. At the same time, it can increase the social accountability of the Government in this process. The reform can be better tailored to the local needs only after a broad engagement of the education system’s stakeholders in policy debates, budgeting and setting development priorities at the school level. It is extremely important that the selected 100 schools, which will be involved in this five-year project, will prove to be sufficiently motivated in order to disseminate these experiences and act as champions of change at the local level”.
CSOs have an important role to play in driving development. The Global Partnership for Social Accountability (GPSA) (www.worldbank.org/gpsa) - a coalition of donors, governments and civil society organizations - aims to support citizens and governments to work together on solving governance challenges. To achieve this objective, GPSA provides strategic and sustained support to CSOs’ social accountability initiatives aimed at strengthening transparency and accountability.
GPSA initiative builds on the World Bank’s direct and ongoing engagement with public sector actors, as well as a network of Global Partner organizations, to create an enabling environment in which citizen feedback is used to solve fundamental problems in service delivery and to strengthen the performance of public institutions. Through a country-tailored approach, GPSA-supported activities are implemented in sectors where the World Bank has a strong involvement and can help governments respond to citizen feedback. GPSA works to “close the loop” by supporting citizens to have a more articulated voice, helping governments to listen, and assisting government agencies act upon the feedback they receive. Moldova was one of the first countries to join the GPSA initiative and Moldovan Civil Society Organizations actively participated in two calls for proposals on Social Accountability conducted by now.
Since Moldova joined the World Bank in 1992, over US$1 billion has been allocated to 49 operations in the country. Currently, the World Bank portfolio includes 7 active projects with total commitments of US$162.2 million. Areas of support include regulatory reform and business development, education, social assistance, e-governance, healthcare, agriculture, and others. The International Finance Corporation has provided total investments in the amount of US$191 million and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency has provided guarantees totaling US$95 million. Both institutions are members of the World Bank Group.