Results of the Regional E-Learning Course "Headman: a Local Leader, Administrator, and Representative of Interests of the Territorial Community" have been Presented in Dnipropetrovsk Oblast: 176 Experts of Local Self-Government have Successfully Completed

On 11 May 2016, in the Dnipropetrovsk Regional Institute of Public Administration of the National Academy of Public Administration at the President of Ukraine, a research and training conference was held based on the results of the online training course "Headman: a Local Leader, Administrator, and Representative of Interests of the Territorial Community", during which conference the results of training were summed up and the prospects of future work were outlined.

During the conference, the participants discussed various matters pertaining to the operation of the institute of headmen. During the discussions, much attention was paid to the first actions of the headmen. In particular, the participants in the conference arrived at conclusion that the first actions of a newly elected headman of the community should demonstrate his or her professional competence, confidence, strategic vision, and proactive statist position regarding the development of the village or town, determination on the application of modern standards, methods, and instruments for the territory development, and that he or she should propose to the residents of the village or town such measures that will allow everyone making a contribution to the common cause, feeling his/ her pertinence to the matters of the community establishment and development. According to the participants, that will become a push for the residents of the community to jointly rethink the mission and priorities of the community as a collectivity of residents and will set the direction for them on the way of efficient cooperation and attainment of the objectives stated. Also, a practical guide on the first actions of headmen was presented.
The presented e-learning course became one of the stages of the focused training of headmen and active members of the community.

Detailed information on the e-learning course "Headman: a Local Leader, Administrator, and Representative of Interests of the Territorial Community"

Within the framework of the on-line Community of Local Self-Government Practices and pursuant to the Memorandum of Understanding between the Dnipropetrovsk Oblast (Regional) Council and the DESPRO Swiss-Ukrainian Decentralisation Support Project in Ukraine, there was prepared and implemented the online training course for officials of the local self-government in Dnipropetrovsk Oblast (Region) named "Headman: a Local Leader, Administrator, and Representative of Interests of the Territorial Community". The Dnipropetrovsk Oblast (Regional) State Administration has acted as the regional partner of the training course, and the Dnipropetrovsk Regional Institute of Public Administration of the National Academy of Public Administration at the President of Ukraine, as the academic partner whose team of tutors and experts conducted the training.
The key ideas for the establishment of the e-learning course included the following: to unite practitioners from the local self-government in the Dnipropetrovsk region; offer an opportunity for the participants of the online training to discuss the most topical issues of development of the territories, prospects of communities, role and place of the headman in the processes of reforming the structure of power and in the matters of local development, understanding the specific character of his or her activities; provide the participants with the access to expert counselling at different levels on the peculiarities of introduction of the institute of headman and the specifics of his or her work; provide conditions for generating by the participants of the course of ideas in the area dealing with the problems pertinent to the development of communities.
The target audience included representatives of the local self-government, active members of the community, and representatives of non-governmental organisations in Dnipropetrovsk Oblast (Region) intending to run for the office of the headman.

The presented five-week e-learning course did not appear to be traditional learning; it combined the elements of education, counselling, establishment of communities of practice and advanced training.
A tool set of the e-Learning platform was used for the development and enhancement of the creative work of the communities of practices, including: facilitation of discussions in the forums; targeted communication of tutors and facilitators with the participants; development of an evaluation system (module testing, evaluation by tutors of the practical task comprised of two parts; evaluation by facilitators of constructive communications in the forums; scores assigned by the tutors for diligence during the training course; scores assigned by experts for diligence in specialty forums; final test).
During the training course, the participants discussed the most topical issues of local self-government in Ukraine, in particular: establishment of a network of integrated administrative service centres in the amalgamated territorial communities, the headman as an official of the local self-government, management tools ensuring successful and efficient activities of the headman, resource provision for the amalgamated territorial communities and public control over the budget spending, legal basis of activities of the headman pursuant to Article 14-1 of the Law of Ukraine "On Local Self-Government", solution of problems of the amalgamated territorial communities, disposal and transfer of communal property to the amalgamated territorial communities. The participants themselves raised the following questions: functions of the bodies of self-organisation of individuals, how the headman may change the living in the village or town, why I want to become the headman, powers, rights, and obligations of the headman of an amalgamated territorial community, etc.
The key feature of the e-learning course was the development of practical skills regarding the amalgamation of local communities, formation of basic competences of the headman, application of tools used in the activities of the leader of a territorial community by doing a complex practical exercise "Development of Performance Programme of the Headman" (comprised of two parts): Part 1 - completion of a number of templates pertaining to the Performance Programme of the Headman (analysis of major social and economic development indicators of the territorial community in a village (town); indication of the territory development problems to be urgently resolved; SWOT-analysis of the village / town territory; Part 2 - preparation of the Programme itself.
The peculiarity of the training course was the involvement of the current headmen that had just been elected who acted both as the participants and the experts. A number of questions were raised, including: the headman and the self-organisation of the population, benefits and implications of the reform, financing of the amalgamated communities, capabilities of the headman to deal with problems of providing high-quality services to the community, cooperation with local council members, carrying out notarial acts, etc.
Totally, 176 participants enrolled in the training course, including 81 % of representatives of the local self-government bodies, 6.8 % - representatives of territorial communities, 4.8 % - representatives of non-governmental organisations, 4.7 % - representatives of communal enterprises, 2 % - representatives of private business, and 0.7 % - representatives of the executive power bodies.
The fact that 55 % of the participants had no experience of online training was another challenge for the e-course team. Most of the participants were motivated to participate in the training course by their willingness to get professional development (44 %), take an active part in the process of establishment of capable communities (36 %), by plans to hold the office of the headman (33 %), and self-education (18 %). About 24 % of the participants had no experience of management behaviour. However, 40 % were willing and up for changing the life of their communities for better.
Throughout the entire training course, the participants obtained expert support in specialty forums. In the Experts’ Room, more than 260 questions and answers were examined, in the Room of Representatives of the Regional Office for Reforms, more than 60, and in the Legal Aid Office, more than 60.
The participants emphasised that the process of amalgamation of communities required organisational and methodological support to be provided by the regional offices for reforms, the National Academy of Public Administration, and its regional institutes.
176 persons completed the training course. 113 (63 %) of the participants successfully completed the course by having got more than 50 points. More than 100 grateful and inspiration messages were posted in the Forum of Impressions and Wishes.
The success of the course allows recommending that similar training be carried out for representatives of other Oblasts (Regions) of Ukraine.