Structural Funds General Directorate at the Ministry of Education and Science was transformed into Executive Agency "Operational Program Science and Education for Smart Growth" (OPSESG) since 1st of November. This happens after the Council of Ministers approved Decree 237 / 23.10 on the establishment of the agency and its rules of procedure.
The Executive Agency is a subordinate authorizing officer with the Minister of Education and Science. It will perform the functions of the Managing Authority of the "Science and Education for Smart Growth" Operational Program 2014-2020 and all the resulting obligations and responsibilities under the national and European Union law. The Agency will also act as an intermediary under Priority Axes 3 and 4 of the Operational Program "Human Resources Development" 2007-2013 until its finalization.
The creation of the OPSESG Executive Agency was a consequence of the necessity to eliminate the inconsistencies and weaknesses identified in the preliminary audit report of the European Commission on OPSESG. The most critical is the finding related to the necessity of division of functions between the Managing Authority of OP SESG and MES as a concrete beneficiary of the projects financed by the program.
The new Executive Agency will have one hundred and six positions in 6 directorates:
- "Risk Management and Control" Directorate;
- "Programming, Monitoring and Evaluation" Directorate;
- "Project Selection and Contracting" Dorectorate;
- General Verification Directorate;
- Financial Planning, Accounting and Payments Directorate;
- "Administration and Management" Directorate .
The Decree enters into force from 1st of November 2017.
The "Science and Education for Smart Growth " Operational Program was set up following a serious public debate, advocacy from the scientific community and a government decision in the beginning of 2013. The program is the only two-fund program in Bulgaria: it is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund and European Social Fund.
After its ambitious start, OPSESG has fallen into a crisis. Major operations under Axis 1 have not yet reached the stage of project approval and contract signing. Teacher Qualification Operations have not been launched, as well as others, approved by the Monitoring Committee. Project "Your Lesson" starts with a delay and its performance "creaks". Serious problems were identified in a preliminary audit report of the European Commission a year ago when OPSESG was directly managed by the Minister of Education.
November 1st is one of the brightest celebrations: The Day of National Heroes. Good luck, colleagues from the Executive Agency "Operational Program Science and Education for Smart Growth"!
You have the chance to awake the OP SESG in order to fulfill its main mission: better education for all and world-class science!