NOTICIAS, January-August 2014
The CEIHG Managua graduated its 52th, 53rd and 54th intensive "Comprender la Economía" (CE) political economy courses in March, June and August 2014. With one more CE course still pending in October, these three CE courses surpassed the total number of finishers in 2013 (94 as compared to 89 in 2013), as well as the total number of superior-level graduates (58 to 47 in 2013), and nearly equaled the number of initial participants of the four CE courses in 2013 (201 to 221). . . See full "Comprender La Economía" 2000-2014 Course Statistics.
Of the 58 superior-level graduates, 56 have declared membership in the Georgist Community Fund (GCF). Another notable achievement of these three courses was the fact that the ratio of CE course graduates to initial participants (student retention) improved from an all-time record low of 42% in 2013 to 46%, while the ratio of superior-level graduates to course finishers jumped to 63%, a 10% improvement from 53% in 2013.
The first two CE courses in Feb-March and May-June received more applicants than there was course space, each starting with the maximum of 75 students. The July-August CE #54 course started out with far fewer students, only 51, despite an intensive publicity campaign which included an extra day of leafletting and three TV and radio interviews. Then, on top of that, only 39% finished the CE #54 course, as compared to the combined average of 49% of the two previous courses. Nevertheless, the saving grace of the CE #54 course was that 70% of the class finishers graduated with superior-level certificates.
Beginning February 2014, the CEIHG began offering a two-weekend "Comprender la Economía" (CE) workshop as a follow up to each regular CE five-week course. The workshops are primarily for high scoring CE intermediate-level graduates hoping to bump up their qualification to the superior level but also can be attended by CE superior-level graduates who want to take for the Georgist Community Fund (GCF) qualifiying exam.
The CE weekend workshop consist of two three-hour meetings on two consecutive Saturday afternoons, along with four one and a half hour long optional study group meetings during the two weeks of the workshop period. The two weekend classes are mandatory, while participation in the optional study groups gives students extra credit toward their final grade. The students take the CE final exam on the third Saturday afternoon of the workshop. The exam grade is then used to recalculate the final grade of the intermediate student or to qualify the superior-level graduate for membership in the GCF.
So far, the CEIHG has facilitated two workshops, one in March, finishing with 10 students receiving superior-level certificates, and the second which started in August with 8 students and is yet to be completed (as of August 30th).
Another initiative of the CEIHG to increase total enrollment, student retention and graduation numbers of the CE program is the CEIHG's plan to offer an additional evening class concurrently with the regular afternoon classes in the same five-week period of each CE course. The addition of an evening schedule is partly in response to repeated requests from employed individuals who have not been able to take the CE course due to the time conflict with their jobs. The training of new CE course teachers and teaching assistants to facilitate this duplication of the CE course capacity began in July. The evening CE course was successfully offered in an evening format from 2000 to 2012 but then was changed to an afternoon schedule in 2013 in response to the higher costs of the evening hours. (Those costs included the need to hire a shuttle bus to take the students rapidly to public transportation hubs at the end of the class before the buses would stop running.) The CEIHG expects that some of the additional facilitation costs of a second CE class will be offset or limitied by the consolidation of some of the publicity and administrative expenses, for instance, a single print advertisement. The CEIHG hopes to beging offering the additional evening class schedule the October 2014 CE #55 course.
Another initiative for expansion of the CEIHG's "Comprender la Economía" (CE) education program is the planned offering of the CE course to English speaking students in New York City, USA. The translation of the CE course materials to English is nearly completed and the scheduling and organization of the pilot course is underway. The "Understanding Economics" (UE) course (which may possibly be renamed) will be the first course on Progress and Poverty in the USA to offer a rigorous curriculum in which full attendance, reading, homework tests and a comprehensive exam are required to receive a certificate of competency. The course organizer and professor, Allen Smith, is an HGIEC supporter and volunteer and a GCF association member, as well as an experienced volunteer teacher at the Henry George School of NYC (HGSNY). "I am excited about leading this effort of the HGIEC to facilitate the education of more international Georgists who can then be qualified to join the GCF movement," said Mr. Smith. He and the HGIEC expect that this first CE course in English will be offered in October or November of this year, possibly in collaboration with the HGSNY.
Fund (GCF), the international
association of objectively qualified and self-professed georgists sponsored by the HGIEC since 2011, increased its membership to
as of mid-August. Total membership, meetings, and participation statistics
indicate a significant growth trajectory of the association over the last three
years. However, the main body of the GCF membership continues to be made up of
Nicaraguan students of the CEIHG Managua, with only 8 international members representing
the international Georgist community.
The GCF started 2014 with the annual celebration of the distribution of the "Citizens' Dividend" of the GCF's "Land Rent Common Fund." 44 members and their guests attended the January 18th event at the CEIHG. The total fund available for distribution, made up of GCF members' voluntary contributions of their "net land rent", was $1,246 dollars. The dividends ranged from $8 to $32 dollars depending on each member's activity status during the 2013 calendar year. Some members chose to have their dividends recontributed to the 2014 fund. About $500 dollars were distributed to the "active" GCF members who attended the event, and also to three international members via Paypal. The total remaining 2013 fund amount was rolled over to the fund for 2014 and has grown back to $1,167 as of the end of August.
Atlantic Coast Common Land conference planning in March.
Natural Law Justice Forum in July.
since August 2014