On February 3, 2017 Eric Livny, President of ISET and the ISET Policy Institute, held a working meeting with the newly-appointed chairman of the Competition Agency of Georgia, Mr. Nodar Khaduri, who is also a co-director of the newly-accredited ISET BA Program.

Market monitoring and analysis, efficient usage (and availability) of resources, and ISET-PI and ISET MA students’ collaborations with the agency were among the topics discussed at the meeting. The role of the competition agency in developing students’ practical skills was highlighted as being crucially important.

As a result of the meeting, both parties agreed to conduct joint research projects in the future that could highly benefit both ISET-PI and the Agency.

A working meeting of the Georgian Agriculture Alliance for Rural Development (GAARD) was held on January 31 2017 by Oxfam and BRIDGE - Innovation and Development, a local NGO.

There are five different working groups in GAARD: (i) Food Security, (ii) Access to Services, (iii) Access to Finance, (iv) Cooperation and Smallholder Farmers, and (v) the Environment, Diversity and Land Usage group.

APRC researcher Ia Katsia participated in a GAARD meeting in which Alliance members presented developed advocacy plans on different topics developed by the working groups’ of the GAARD. During the meeting, advocacy priorities were highlighted for each working group, and the participants discussed future activities and important topics related to agriculture.

On January 27, ISET students delivered yet another policy seminar. A presentation entitled “The Quality of Secondary Education” was delivered by Mariam Chachkhiani, Lika Goderdzishvili, Dika Khidesheli, and Tevos Matevosyan under the supervision of a senior research fellow in the Education and Social Policy Center at ISET-PI, Zurab Abramishvili. During the presentation, the students overviewed the current situation and indicators of the quality of secondary education in Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan, with further emphasis made on problems facing Georgia.

At the beginning of the presentation, the students showed a short video on the Finnish education system, “where learning is meant to be fun”. Students have no homework, with both short school days and semesters. The Finnish system perceives standardized test-based system (like in US) to be studying for test; it does not encourage students to learn. Another important point is that private schools do not exist in Finland, and Finnish people think that neighborhood schools are the best.

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