Engaging SEE tax officials in cooperative learning

March 1, 2016 by Tina Žagar

The Confucius proverb “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.” acknowledges that adults learn most optimally when a high level of engagement is required from them.

With this in mind, the CEF’s tax related courses delivered under the Supporting Capacity Development of Tax Administrations in South East Europe (SEE) project are typically designed as a combination of comprehensive subject-matter presentations, followed by group exercises that give participants a chance to apply the presented information and complete assignments together in teams of five or six members. Such an approach allows for more in-depth and concrete exchange of thoughts and specific country experiences, enhancing the value of participant-participant interaction.

Working on a case study brings participants close to situations they would typically encounter in their professional lives. It allows for contextualizing the theoretical concepts previously explained by lecturers and opens floor for collaborative analysis of realistic and specific challenges outlined in a case study. After collaboratively reflecting on challenges outlined in a case study we ask participants to share the outcomes of their discussions. This brings out different perspectives on discussed subject matters and opens a forum for a multi-faceted debate informed also from participants’ specific contexts. This results in lessons that participants can put into practice and apply in their own work practices.

Group exercises also encourage participants to interact with each other, learn from each other’s experiences and form professional ties that last beyond the duration of the learning event. The feedback received from participants on how they intend to use gained knowledge confirms the usefulness of such an approach to learning. Or as a participant once noted, “The case study about the mythical country was very useful and it inspired me to think about ways how I can make some changes in my own organization.”


Supporting Capacity Development of Tax Administrations in South East Europe (SEE) is a two-year training and networking project. It is designed to help tax administrations deal with the challenges they face in their attempts of achieving effective and efficient application of modern risk management approaches. This in turn will allow tax administrations to achieve effective revenue management, ensure that non-compliance with tax law is kept to a minimum and thus promote voluntary compliance. For more information please visit: www.cef-see.org/tax.