Billing Code: 8230 - 01

UNITED STATES INFORMATION AGENCY

Civic Education Curriculum Development and Teacher Training Program for Secondary Schools in Georgia

NOTICE: Request for Proposals

SUMMARY: The Advising, Teaching and Specialized Programs Division, of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs in the United States Information Agency announces an open competition for a Civic Education Curriculum Development and Teacher Training Program for Secondary Schools in the Republic of Georgia. For applicants' information, on October 1, 1999 the Bureau will become part of the U.S. Department of State without affecting the content of this announcement or the nature of the program described. At that time, the Advising, Teaching and Specialized Programs Division will be renamed the Office of Global Educational Programs. Public and private non-profit organizations meeting the provisions described in IRS regulation 26 CFR 1.501(c) may submit proposals to cooperate with the Bureau in the administration of a three-year project to support the development and implementation of new curriculum units for fifth through ninth grade civic education courses in the Republic of Georgia. The grant awards up to $500,000 to facilitate the project. The grantee will work with Gaia, a Georgian non-profit organization involved in in-service teacher training programs in human rights and civic education in Georgia. The Georgian and US partner organizations will coordinate with the Ministry of Education and his appointees in Georgia and the public diplomacy section at the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi. The program will comprise four phases of activity: 1)selection of a small curriculum development team of Georgian educators and preliminary consultations in Tbilisi; 2) a three-month U.S.-based curriculum development workshop in which the team will produce draft curriculum units; 3) follow-up consultations in Georgia to assist in the review and field-testing of the draft curricular materials and in the training of a larger group of Georgian practitioners; 4) cooperation with Gaia in the further review and dissemination of the draft materials as needed, and to provide broader training of Georgian teachers and administrators for utilization of the revised curriculum units in Georgian classrooms.

The Bureau solicits detailed proposals from U.S. educational institutions and public and private non-profit organizations to develop and administer this project. Grantee organizations will consult regularly with the Bureau and with the public diplomacy section at the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi with regard to participant selection, program implementation, direction, and assessment. Proposals should demonstrate an understanding of the issues confronting education in Georgia as well as expertise in civic education and curriculum development.

The funding authority for the program cited above is provided through the Freedom Support Act. Programs and projects must conform with Bureau requirements and guidelines outlined in the Solicitation Package. The Bureau's programs and projects are subject to availability of funds.

PROGRAM INFORMATION:

Overview: The goals of the project are to assist Gaia in Tbilisi, Georgia, to develop up-to-date curriculum units to be taught at the fifth through ninth grade levels, and to assist in training teachers for the implementation of these units. The rationale for this project is that improving citizenship education at the secondary school level will better prepare Georgian students to participate actively in building a pluralistic, democratic society and will promote democratic relations among members of the school community, including students, teachers, school administrators, and parents. Applicants may suggest topics to be developed by the curriculum team in their proposals; however, final determination of appropriate topics will be made by the curriculum development team and Gaia in cooperation with the grantee organization during the first phase of the project.

GUIDELINES:

Program Planning and Implementation

Grants should begin on or around February 1, 2000, with Phase I of the project, in which a curriculum development team of six practitioners (e.g., classroom teachers, curriculum specialists, and the project director of Gaia,

who will serve as the Georgian project director for this grant) will be chosen by a selection committee in Georgia comprised of Gaia staff, local civic education specialists, members of the U.S. grantee organization and the public diplomacy section of the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi. A Ministry of Education official may be invited to serve as a liaison between the project directorate and the Georgian government. In Phase I, the team will undertake preliminary work in Tbilisi over a period of 3-6 months. Members of the curriculum development team, in consultation with a specialist from the grantee organization and the Georgian Project Director, will familiarize themselves with civics curricula and teaching materials used in the U.S., and will select the topics to be explored in the draft curriculum units.

In Phase II, members of the curriculum development team will spend approximately three months in a highly structured U.S.-based workshop to be sponsored and organized by the U.S. grantee organization, and will attend focused curriculum seminars, observe relevant aspects of the U.S. educational system, and draft teacher and student materials for the curriculum units in consultation with U.S. specialists. The grantee organization will be responsible for introducing the Georgian team to leading U.S. civic educators with expertise that is pertinent to the topics to be explored, and to a broad range of relevant resources. The workshop schedule should incorporate significant time for both individual and group work on drafting materials as well as intensive training on specific approaches to the teaching of civic education topics. In addition, the workshop should include field experiences which are relevant to the materials being produced (such as visits to schools, matching the Georgian educators with U.S. mentor teachers, and attendance at professional association meetings).

In Phase III, the curriculum development team will work in Georgia with Georgian teacher trainers, Gaia staff members, U.S. specialists from the grantee organization, and other Georgian organizations to provide introductory training for a larger group of practitioners in methods for testing and utilizing the draft curriculum units in the civics classrooms. The grantee organization will cooperate with the curriculum development team and Georgian educators to design and implement a pilot-test program for select secondary schools in Georgia. Revision of the draft curricular materials based on the results of field test will be completed by the grantee organization and the Georgian curriculum development team.

Phase IV activities will consist of further review of the curricular materials by the U.S. and Georgian teams, the printing and publication of the materials, and the development of a self-sustaining teacher-training program in the use of the civic education materials.

Visa/Insurance/Tax Requirements

U.S. lecturers and consultants participating in the project must be U.S. citizens. Programs must comply with J-1 visa regulations. Please refer to Program Specific Guidelines (POGI) in the Solicitation Package for further information. Administration of the program must be in compliance with reporting and withholding regulations for federal, state, and local taxes as applicable. Recipient organizations should demonstrate tax regulation adherence in the proposal narrative and budget.

BUDGET GUIDELINES:

Grants awarded to eligible organizations with less than four years of experience in conducting international exchange programs will be limited to $60,000.

Applicants must submit a comprehensive budget for the entire program. Awards may not exceed $500,000. There must be a summary budget as well as breakdowns reflecting both administrative and program budgets. Applicants may provide separate sub-budgets for each program component, phase, location, or activity to provide clarification. The summary and detailed program and administrative budgets should be accompanied by a narrative which provides a brief rationale for each line item. The total administrative costs funded by the Bureau must be limited and reasonable.

Allowable costs for the program include the following:

1)Administrative Costs, including salaries and benefits, of grantee organization.

2)Program Costs, including general program costs and program costs for each Georgian participant in the U.S.-based curriculum development seminar. Also included are program costs associated with the field-testing of materials in Georgia and with the initial training of Georgian teachers.

Please refer to the Solicitation Package for complete budget guidelines and formatting instructions.

ANNOUNCEMENT TITLE AND NUMBER: All correspondence with the Bureau concerning this RFP should reference the above title and number E/ASU-99-21.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, CONTACT:

The Specialized Programs Branch, E/ASU [as of October 1, 1999, the Humphrey Fellowships and Institutional Linkages Branch, ECA/ASU], Room 349, U.S. Department of State, 301 4th Street, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20547, tel. 202 619-6492 and fax 202 401-1433, or emathews@usia.gov to request a Solicitation Package. The Solicitation Package contains detailed award criteria, required application forms, specific budget instructions, and standard guidelines for proposal preparation. Please specify Bureau Program Officer Erin Mathews on all other inquiries and correspondence.

Please read the complete Federal Register announcement before sending inquiries or submitting proposals. Once the RFP deadline has passed, Bureau staff may not discuss this competition with applicants until the proposal review process has been completed.

TO DOWNLOAD A SOLICITATION PACKAGE VIA INTERNET:

The entire Solicitation Package may be downloaded from the Bureau's website at http://e.usia.gov/education/rfps. Please read all information before downloading.

DEADLINE FOR PROPOSALS: All proposal copies must be received at the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs by 5 p.m. Washington, D.C. time on Wednesday, December 15, 1999. Faxed documents will not be accepted at any time. Documents postmarked the due date but received on a later date will not be accepted. Each applicant must ensure that the proposals are received by the above deadline.

Applicants must follow all instructions in the Solicitation Package. The original and 10 copies of the application should be sent to:

U.S. Department of State, Bureau of
Educational and Cultural Affairs
Ref.: E/ASU-00-09
Office of Program Management, ECA/EX/PM, Room 336
301 4th Street, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20547

Applicants must also submit the "Executive Summary" and "Proposal Narrative" sections of the proposal on a 3.5" diskette, formatted for DOS. These documents must be provided in ASCII text (DOS) format with a maximum line length of 65 characters. The Bureau will transmit these files electronically to the public diplomacy section at the US Embassy for its review, with the goal of reducing the time it takes to get Embassy comments for the Bureau's grants review process.

DIVERSITY, FREEDOM AND DEMOCRACY GUIDELINES

Pursuant to the Bureau's authorizing legislation, programs must maintain a non-political character and should be balanced and representative of the diversity of American political, social, and cultural life. "Diversity" should be interpreted in the broadest sense and encompass differences including, but not limited to ethnicity, race, gender, religion, geographic location, socio-economic status, and physical challenges. Applicants are strongly encouraged to adhere to the advancement of this principle both in program administration and in program content. Please refer to the review criteria under the Support for Diversity section for specific suggestions on incorporating diversity into the total proposal. Public Law 104-319 provides that in carrying out programs of educational and cultural exchange in countries whose people do not fully enjoy freedom and democracy, the Bureau shall take appropriate steps to provide opportunities for participation in such programs to human rights and democracy leaders of such countries. Proposals should reflect advancement of this goal in their program contents, to the full extent deemed feasible.

Year 2000 Compliance Requirement (Y2K Requirement)

The Year 2000 (Y2K) issue is a broad operational and accounting problem that could potentially prohibit organizations from processing information in accordance with Federal management and program specific requirements including data exchange with the Bureau. The inability to process information in accordance with Federal requirements could result in grantees' being required to

return funds that have not been accounted for properly.

The Bureau therefore requires all organizations use Y2K compliant systems including hardware, software, and firmware. Systems must accurately process data and dates (calculating, comparing and sequencing) both before and after the beginning of the year 2000 and correctly adjust for leap years.

Additional information addressing the Y2K issue may be found at the General Services Administration's Office of Information Technology website at http://www.itpolicy.gsa.gov.

REVIEW PROCESS

The Bureau will acknowledge receipt of all proposals and will review them for technical eligibility. Proposals will be deemed ineligible if they do not fully adhere to the guidelines stated herein and in the Solicitation Package. All eligible proposals will be reviewed by the program office, as well as the U.S. Department of State's Office of the Senior Coordinator for the Newly Independent States and the public diplomacy section overseas, where appropriate. Eligible proposals will be forwarded to panels of Bureau officers for advisory review. Proposals may also be reviewed by the Department of State, Office of the Legal Adviser or by other Bureau elements. Final funding decisions are at the discretion of the Department of State's Assistant Secretary for Educational and Cultural Affairs. Final technical authority for assistance awards (grants or cooperative agreements) resides with the Bureau's Grants Officer.

REVIEW CRITERIA

Technically eligible applications will be competitively reviewed according to the criteria stated below. These criteria are not rank ordered and all carry equal weight in the proposal evaluation:

1. Quality of the program idea: Proposals should exhibit originality, substance, precision, and relevance to the Bureau's mission, and responsiveness to the objectives and guidelines stated in this solicitation. Proposals should demonstrate substantive expertise in civic education.

2. Program planning: Detailed agenda and relevant work plan should demonstrate substantive undertakings and logistical capacity. Agenda and plan should adhere to the program overview and guidelines described above.

3. Ability to achieve program objectives: Objectives should be reasonable, feasible, and flexible. Proposals should clearly demonstrate how the institution will meet the program's objectives and plan.

4. Multiplier effect/impact: Proposed programs should strengthen long-term mutual understanding, including maximum sharing of information and establishment of long-term institutional and individual linkages.

5. Support of Diversity: Proposals should demonstrate substantive support of the Bureau's policy on diversity. Achievable and relevant features should be cited in both program administration (selection of participants, program venue and program evaluation) and program content (orientation and wrap-up sessions, program meetings, resource materials and follow-up activities).

6. Institutional Capacity and Record: Proposed personnel and institutional resources should be adequate and appropriate to achieve the program or project's goals. Proposals should demonstrate an institutional record of successful exchange programs, including responsible fiscal management and full compliance with all reporting requirements for past Bureau grants as determined by the grants staff. The Bureau will consider the past performance of prior recipients and the demonstrated potential of new applicants.

7. Follow-on Activities: Proposals should provide a plan for continued follow-on activity (without Bureau support) ensuring that Bureau supported programs are not isolated events.

8. Project Evaluation: Proposals should include a plan to evaluate the activity's success, both as the activities unfold and at the end of the program. A draft survey questionnaire or other technique plus description of a methodology to use to link outcomes to original project objectives is recommended. Successful applicants will be expected to submit intermediate program and financial reports after each project component is concluded or quarterly, whichever is less frequent.

9. Cost-effectiveness/Cost-sharing: The overhead and administrative components of the proposal, including salaries and honoraria, should be kept as low as possible. All other items should be necessary and appropriate. Proposals should maximize cost-sharing through other private sector support as well as institutional direct funding contributions.

AUTHORITY:

Overall grant making authority for this program is contained in the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961, Public Law 87-256, as amended, also known as the Fulbright-Hays Act. The purpose of the Act is "to enable the Government of the United States to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries...; to strengthen the ties which unite us with other nations by demonstrating the educational and cultural interests, developments, and achievements of the people of the United States and other nations...and thus to assist in the development of friendly, sympathetic and peaceful relations between the United States and the other countries of the world." The funding authority for the program above is provided through the Freedom for Russia and Emerging Eurasian Democracies and Open Markets Support Act of 1993 (Freedom Support Act).

The terms and conditions published in this RFP are binding and may not be modified by any Bureau representative. Explanatory information provided by the Bureau that contradicts published language will not be binding. Issuance of the RFP does not constitute an award commitment on the part of the Government. The Bureau reserves the right to reduce, revise, or increase proposal budgets in accordance with the needs of the program and the availability of funds. Awards made will be subject to periodic reporting and evaluation requirements.

NOTIFICATION

Final awards cannot be made until funds have been appropriated by Congress, allocated and committed through internal Department of State procedures.
 
 

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