Guest blog by Levan Karalashvili
This is a blog series written by the alumni of the Implementing Public Policy Executive Education Program at the Harvard Kennedy School. Participants successfully completed this 6-month online learning course in December 2020. These are their learning journey stories.
That was a great course. A lot of countries are facing major policy challenges due to COVID19 and there is especially high uncertainty on post-covid era. The world simply will be different and any policy-maker needs to be equipped with the best possible tools and be able to efficiently analyze complex problems, which will require unorthodox strategies to develop and implement, with goal to accelerate process of recovery.
I found the provided materials and course dynamics very interesting, widening the understanding of complex problem handling, learning the PDIA approach in action, and sharpening problem understanding and solution development strategies.
The challenge that I have been working on was focused on education policy, primarily related to secondary education and school reform. The secondary education system of Georgia is unable to equip its students with knowledge and academic skills necessary for the next educational level. Furthermore, the existing educational model in Georgian schools is not sufficient to form adequate critical thinking capabilities in students. As a result, neither academic nor civic skills of students are enough to 1) successfully move on to the next academic level and 2) provide minimum level of preparation for the Georgian labor market. Pandemic caused further challenged the system due to online education introduction where neither teachers nor students appeared ready for this type of interaction.
With the team, we adjusted our Fishbone diagram and widened the circle of experts who brought new insights and actually made the problem even more complex. Second wave of COVID19, caught us in the middle of communicating our work with authorities, who at the same time appeared stressed due parliamentary election process which left country in political crisis with no major decision authority in place.
The policymakers and politics a lot of times lack proper vision and need more “persuasion” to take proper decision and be motivated. Explaining the frameworks which have worked in other countries, giving practical guidelines and demonstrating success stories are important to take bold/daring decisions. A lot of examples and references discussed during IPP, were very helpful in strengthening my understanding of policy making process and I am looking forward to applying these skills in the near future.
My word of wisdom would be – never give up, stay patient and move forward, step by step, securing small wins but never losing the focus on major battle which will be still awaiting ahead.
Below is flag of Georgia and my “THANK YOU” (მადლობა (madloba)) in Georgian to all faculty members for their outstanding work and patience.