The IMF’s Public Financial Management (PFM) Course

Posted by Nour Chamseddine1 and Qing Zhao2

The IMF’s first public offering of its online Public Financial Management (PFM) course had 1,375 participants from 194 countries. This eight-week course (PFMx) was offered as a massive open online course (MOOC) hosted on the edX platform, open to government officials, civil society and the public. The top five countries with the most participation from the general public were Somalia, United Kingdom, India, Jamaica and Kenya. The countries with the most government officials participating were Somalia, Jamaica, Colombia, Egypt and Zimbabwe.

The lecturers and the materials for this course were provided by IMF staff at the Fiscal Affairs Department. The course aims to deepen participants’ understanding of the main PFM institutions and the importance of PFM in supporting macroeconomic stability and economic growth. It consists of 15 modules covering a wide range of topics including the stages of the budget cycle, cash and debt management, public investment management, fiscal responsibility and PFM reform. Participants benefited from concise video lectures, case studies, interviews with country officials and other policy makers, as well as supplementary reading materials.

Participants began the course by taking a pre-course test to evaluate their knowledge of PFM. Each module contained a series of video lectures focusing on a specific PFM topic. At the end of each module, participants had to answer a series of questions to assess what they had learned. Upon finishing the course, participants took a post-course test to assess their progress. In order to pass the course, participants had to score an overall cumulative grade of at least 60% across all the module assessments.

In addition to the course content, participants were encouraged to engage with the online discussion forum, where they posted questions and initiated discussions. The forum stayed active throughout the duration of the course. Participants posted detailed questions relating to various aspects of PFM. They not only learned from the course content, but also benefited from the reflections of fellow participants regarding their own country’s PFM practices and professional experiences.

Participants were enthusiastic about the interactive discussion forum, posted many positive comments about the course and the lectures, and provided constructive feedback; which will be taken into consideration in the next offering of the course. The Public Financial Management (PFMx) course will be offered again early next year to the public. Follow our PFM blog to stay posted.

1 Research Analyst, Fiscal Affairs Department

2 Projects Assistant, Fiscal Affairs Department

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