Assistance to the School of Young Managers in the Public Administration (SYMPA)
Financed by Sida, FCG Sweden (formerly SIPU) supported SYMPA with a comprehensive two year program and organisational support. SYMPA is an independent School for young managers, enrolling students from the public administration, civil society, media and private sector. The School's objective is to contribute to a modernised and effective public administration in Belarus. The idea is to develop programmes of competence building, which introduce young people to modern techniques of public administration, give an account of lessons learned in neighbouring countries, present in-sights into the functioning of modern organizations, as well as offer them an opportunity to gain hands-on experience through study visits and internships.
Two education cycles were being implemented, one per year. The 30 students underwent a training program consisting of four sessions in Belarus, Georgia, Lithuania and Sweden. The topics were basic concepts of public administration; the Baltic experience of transition to a democratic society, market economy and modern public administration; on decentralised and participatory decision making, e-governance, and privatisation and efficient governance and public financial management. All the sessions lasted 3-5 days and consisted of a mix of lectures, discussions/group work and study visits to various organisations and agencies. In addition to the training sessions, participants carried out study/research activities in-between the sessions: policy analysis related to contemporary PA issues in Belarus and complex PA reform problems; relevant discussions with Belarusian and foreign experts, politicians and diplomats.
To reach a wider audience an e-learning tool were being elaborated by introducing a public administration course on an open-source learning platform. The 12-week course was available instantly online with the possibility to run it four times per year.
Internships were being offered within agencies and organisations in Belarus and neighbouring countries.
Cooperation with the Governmental Public Administration Academy had been initiated by contributing to revise the Academy's MPA curricula, delivering seminars and giving special courses for civil servants. Approximately 60 civil servants were trained by SYMPA at the PA Academy. The students were also invited to take part in the online course.
BIPART was the think tank branch of SYMPA and conducted research on the most urgent issues in the field of public administration and adjacent areas. Two annual reports and two semi-annual policy papers have been produced, published and debated.
BIPART organised an annual two-day conference in Minsk on challenges of public administration in Belarus. Possible ways of reform, transparency and efficiency were the core topics of the conference. National and international public administration scholars were invited to present papers and share thoughts, as well as Belarusian graduate students and SYMPA students and alumni.
SYMPA offered the 100 Alumni members continuous education and development of skills in areas related to public administration. Four events per year were organised in Minsk in the form of lectures, business games, seminars or exchange of experience. The most active members were offered participation in BIPART research and analytical work.
SYMPA's internal capacity was enhanced by providing the staff with additional working skills in project management, public presentation, organisational development, fund raising, scientific work management, etc.
Monthly PA digests were published containing PA news that addresses urgent governing problems and presents international experience. The digests targeted policy makers in state agencies and other stakeholders. The public were informed about current developments in the field of governance through articles, TV debates and Internet TV shows.
Open lectures and public debates on public administration problems and practices with national and international experts and practitioners were held six times per year as well as before parliamentary hearings on important issues and new draft laws.