July 29, 2013
MCC says the compact is designed to reduce poverty by addressing one of Georgia’s most binding constraints to economic growth — the quality of human capital — through investments in science and technology education and workforce development. The compact seeks to improve the quality of education in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields, “and increase the earning potential of Georgians through strategic investments from the start of a student’s general education to graduation from technical training and advanced degree programs.” The compact also includes a focus on increasing women’s participation in STEM professions.
Created by the U.S. Congress in January 2004, MCC forms development partnerships with countries that are committed to good governance, economic freedom and investments in their citizens. MCC provides these well-performing countries with large-scale grants to fund country-led solutions for reducing poverty through sustainable economic growth. MCC grants complement other U.S. and international development programs.
Georgia’s $140-million MCC compact will be managed and implemented by MCA-Georgia, a government entity governed by an independent board of directors consisting of representatives of government ministries, the private sector and civil society.
Yohannes said the compact focuses on three areas. “First, it will improve the quality of general education by rehabilitating schools, training educators and school managers and supporting education assessments. Second, it will improve the link between the technical skills the market demands and the supply of Georgians who have those skills. Third, it seeks to attract one or more university partners to offer high-quality degrees in science, technology, engineering, and math.”
This is the second compact between MCC and Georgia, Yohannes pointed out at the ceremony. “In Georgia, MCC consistently finds a partner that understands our approach to development. Together, we successfully completed a first compact that reconstructed a major highway, improved energy and water security and supported agribusinesses. The compact we sign today is a $140 million investment in another area of critical importance for long-term economic growth: the education of Georgia’s workforce.”
The first compact between Georgia and MCC, completed in April 2011, supplemented Georgia’s efforts to promote stability, good governance and private enterprise development in the years following the 2004 Rose Revolution, MCC said. This second compact was based on an analysis conducted by the Georgian government that found that a major constraint to economic growth was the quality of human capital, particularly in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.
Yohannes also said the second MCC compact offers the opportunity for broader engagement “beyond just our two governments. That is why I ask all of you — as leaders, teachers, parents, associations, communities, and corporations — to join us in this endeavor. Improving education is a challenge for all of us, everywhere. By meeting this challenge, we will deliver sustainable, life-changing results that will define a future of greater prosperity in Georgia.”
U.S. Ambassador to Georgia Richard Norland said at the signing ceremony that the compact also has a broader context. “It’s a context that seeks to reaffirm the international community’s confidence in the development, not only of Georgia’s market economy, but of its democracy.”