With a return to classroom training in 2020 not in sight, JVI offered the course on Structural Reforms for the first time in a virtual format this year. The course brought together the expertise of JVI partners from the Austrian National Bank (OeNB), European Investment Bank (EIB), International Labor Organization (ILO), International Monetary Fund (IMF), Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), World Bank, World Trade Organization (WTO), and the Czech Ministry of Finance. It covered a comprehensive range of structural reform areas such as growth and competitiveness, governance, labor markets, external trade, pension systems, infrastructure, and SME finance.
The size of the course group was limited to allow for interactive discussions via JVI’s video conferencing platform. Twelve participants from eight JVI-eligible countries completed the course, hailing from central banks, ministries of finance, economy, trade, and industry, as well as other government agencies involved with structural reforms in their respective countries.
All lecturers adapted and streamlined their course material for online delivery in record time, and many sessions featured a discussion of the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. While active participant involvement in lectures and workshops turned out to be more challenging than in the normal classroom environment, practical workshops, COVID-19-related materials, and the use of interactive exercises and online surveys proved very popular. In spite of all practical challenges posed by limited internet bandwidth and lack of face-to-face contact, course participants stressed that they found the experience with virtual training highly useful. Others welcomed the possibility of remote training as a learning opportunity for people facing travel constraints due to work or family, which suggests a role for virtual training in the post-COVID-19 future.
Tatiana Evdokimova, Economist, JVI
Holger Flörkemeier, Deputy Director, JVI