Star Report: Georgia II Compact | September 2021

Executive Summary

MCC signed a $140 million compact with the Government of Georgia (GoG) in 2013. The compact was designed to increase the earning potential of Georgians through holistic improvements in the quality of education in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields, and included strategic investments in general education, technical training, and advanced degree programs. These investments sought to build upon the success of MCC’s first compact with Georgia, which was signed in 2005 and worked to address the lack of reliable infrastructure and the slow development of businesses, focusing particularly on agribusiness.

This was the first MCC compact to focus exclusively on education. The focus on education was based on the GoG’s analysis of constraints to economic growth in the spring of 2011, which identified a lack of an adequately trained workforce to meet labor demands. To address this constraint, MCC and the GoG designed a compact that targeted: the quality of general education through rehabilitation of deteriorating schools, training for educators and school directors, and support for education assessments; technical and vocational training programs to provide the skills that businesses in the country demand; and the development of a higher education partnership to help modernize STEM education in three of the country’s top universities.

Under MCC’s country ownership model, governments receiving MCC assistance are responsible for implementing the MCC-funded programs. Partner governments establish units known as accountable entities, referred to as MCAs, to manage implementation of compact projects. The Georgia II Compact was largely implemented by MCA-Georgia, but the GoG assigned several implementation responsibilities—such as utility connections, education assessments and teacher training—to other GoG agencies to help ensure long-term sustainability. This implementation strategy was important for country ownership. However, it presented several obstacles and delays. Early in the compact, some entities were beset by staffing and capacity challenges, as well as technical differences between MCC and GoG policies and practices. Ultimately, MCC and the GoG overcame those challenges and successfully executed the compact.

The GoG contributed $32.96 million of its own funds towards the compact and proved itself to be a strong partner throughout implementation of both compacts by meeting key conditions required to release compact funds and passing legislation to support the sustainability of compact benefits.

The compact entered into force on July 1, 2014 and concluded on July 1, 2019. Approximately $138.6 million (99 percent) of the compact was disbursed. MCC’s support for improvements to education and workforce training in the country is expected to benefit 1.2 million people over 20 years. 1

The Star Report for the Georgia II Compact provides a summary of the compact’s results, documents key changes in compact activities and the reasons behind them, details information on performance against targets in the monitoring plan, and summarizes the results of independent evaluations that have been completed. It also outlines relevant partnerships and learning as a result of compact investments. This report will be updated to include data from evaluations that are not yet complete.

The Georgia II Compact consisted of three projects:

The Improving General Education Quality Project

The objective of the Improving General Education Quality Project was to improve general education quality in Georgia through infrastructure enhancements to the physical learning environment in schools, training for educators and school managers, and support to national and international education assessments. The project sought to rehabilitate dilapidated school facilities, upgrade utilities such as heating, electrical, water supply, and sanitation systems, and provide science laboratories and basic equipment to 91 Georgian public schools. It also established a framework for public school system-wide operations and maintenance. Additionally, the project included activities to provide training to all public secondary school STEM and English teachers, all public school principals, and school-based professional development facilitators. Beyond training, this project also financed Georgia’s participation in three international assessments and the implementation of five national assessments focused on math and science. Interim evaluation findings showed progress towards outcomes in both school infrastructure and teacher training results. One year after the treatment schools were rehabilitated, students and teachers reported substantial improvements in the school infrastructure, including heating systems, science labs, and classroom appearance, as compared to the schools in the control group. There was no significant change in student learning outcomes, but the program logic posited that it would take longer to see an effect on those outcomes. Interim results from the teacher training activity showed that teachers felt more confident in their knowledge of the new pedagogy, but that teachers had not yet begun to use those pedagogical practices in the classroom. Preliminary results from the final data collection round showed teachers started to utilize the new pedagogical practices at a higher rate during years one and two  after completing the training, especially younger certified teachers.

The Industry-Led Skills and Workforce Development Project

The objective of the Industry-Led Skills and Workforce Development Project was to strengthen the linkage between market-demanded skills and the supply of Georgians with technical skills relevant to the local economy. The project aimed to increase the number of Georgians with in-demand technical skills that would boost their employability. The project provided an initial investment in competitive grants to technical and vocational education and training (TVET) programs that develop, test, and disseminate innovative and effective approaches to employment-oriented skills, in partnership with public and private sector employers. Additionally, the project worked to provide technical assistance to develop policy that supports industry engagement and matches private sector demand with labor supply; invests in small-scale competitive grants programs that identify, document, and disseminate best practices by TVET providers; and fosters international best-practice exchanges between industry and government leaders. Interim evaluation findings for this project revealed good progress in the areas of developing new or improved TVET courses in Georgia. Enrollment in the new courses generally met or exceeded expectations and participants reported high rates of satisfaction and that they expected increases in income after completing the courses.

The STEM Higher Education Project

The objective of the STEM Higher Education Project was to support delivery of high-quality STEM degree programs in Georgia. The project sought to modernize science, technology, engineering, and math higher education through a partnership that introduced high-quality, U.S.-accredited STEM bachelor’s degrees in Georgia. Following the GoG’s competitive selection process, San Diego State University and three Georgian public partner universities were awarded contracts to administer bachelor’s degree programs targeting enhanced employment opportunities for Georgian students. The project also funded rehabilitation and construction of modern lab and classroom facilities, essential equipment upgrades, curriculum development, and institutional support towards obtaining international accreditation. Interim evaluation findings for this project have shown mixed results, specifically: students were very satisfied with new facilities and equipment but were less satisfied with their experience with the faculty and the courses offered.  This may have been due to student expectations and their understanding of the American bachelor’s degree, which includes liberal arts course requirements that many students did not want to take, as well as online course delivery.

  • 1. The population of Georgia is approximately 4.9 million according to the CIA World Factbook’s July 2021 estimate.