Center of Excellence in Finance
Learning and Regional Cooperation in South East Europe

SPB Newsfeed: Lively Online Discussions on Innovations in Budget Formulation

Apr 1, 2015


We successfully delivered our new e-learning course on budget formulation targeted at public finance officials in South East Europe (SEE) who work in finance and line ministries, fiscal councils, supreme audit institutions, and universities. Twenty-four officials from eight countries participated in a five-week course to discuss steps necessary to formulate national budgets, and to share knowledge on recent innovations in public financial management. The course was designed as a follow-up to regional senior officials’ recommendations to offer innovative learning solutions targeted specifically at younger generations of public finance officials in SEE.

“This course started from the premise that the budget is a key political instrument of every government. Through national budget, governments allocate a finite resource envelop with the aim of delivering on their political priorities,” says Urška Zrinski, Program Manager at the CEF, who was leading the design of this e-learning course from both the content and instructional design perspective. The course examined the preliminary analyses and forecasts needed to draft a budget, the budget request submission process of line ministries and other government entities, review and approval of budget requests by the executive, and the presentation to and review of the budget by the legislature.

Special attention was paid to the instructional design of the course. We used a variety of learning methods and tools to ensure a productive, lively and interactive learning and knowledge exchange based environment with the same participant-centered, experience-based approach that we offer participants at our face-to-face learning events. “Having vast experience in designing learning events in the region that take into consideration different learning theories and accommodate diverse learner preferences has helped enormously in the design of this course. I think that this focus on the instructional design and use of various learning formats, such as videos and learning maps, is what made this e-learning course interesting and fun,” Zrinski adds.

Based on the feedback, participants appreciated the interactivity of the course, the use of different learning methods to stimulate online knowledge exchange, and the opportunity to learn from other attendants about what and why has worked in their countries when introducing budget formulation innovations, and where is place for improvement. Many attendants stated in the course final evaluation that it was their first time to take part in online learning, it was a great way to learn, and they would also recommend it to their colleagues. Moreover, they learned useful things that would help them in their everyday work. See also the infographics to get a quick overview of the course in numbers and participants’ feedback.

The e-learning course was delivered as part of the European Union funded Strategic Planning and Budgeting (SPB) project.

In June 2015 we will deliver another newly designed e-learning course on Budget Execution under the SPB project. The course will cover the importance of budget execution as a stage of the public finance process that starts with the formal parliamentary enactment of the budget and ends with the closing activities of the fiscal year, when the final accounting statement is submitted to the parliament. Participants will learn about the critical issues both before and during the budget execution process, and the organizations involved in the process, either directly or indirectly. In addition, the role of the treasury will be discussed, as well as the processes that a ministry of finance typically carries out to guide all government spending units in executing their budgets.

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