Exchange Programs:

Observations on International Educational, Cultural, and Training Exchange Programs

T-NSIAD-93-7: Published: Mar 23, 1993. Publicly Released: Mar 23, 1993.

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GAO discussed the federal government's support for international educational, cultural, and training exchange programs, focusing on the: (1) number and types of international exchange programs; (2) extent of duplicative or fragmented programs; (3) extent of program coordination and oversight; and (4) legal requirements that inhibit program flexibility. GAO noted that: (1) in 1992, 16 agencies spent about $660 million for about 80 international exchange programs for 41,000 participants; (2) the Agency for International Development, which trained about 14,000 participants and had program costs totalling $330 million, and the United States Information Agency (USIA), which had about 15,000 participants and spent about $198 million had the largest nonmilitary international training and exchange programs; (3) the Department of Defense spent $44.5 million on its International Military Education and Training Program which provided military skills and other defense-related training to over 6,000 foreign military and selected civilian personnel; (4) although international exchange program duplication, overlap, and fragmentation has increased due to legislation, it is not a serious problem; (5) USIA has not fulfilled its mission of providing interagency coordination or oversight and agencies have not conducted adequate program evaluations; and (6) legislation authorizing international exchange programs generally contained few restrictions and allowed adequate program flexibility, but some provisions created administrative problems, operational ineffectiveness, and management flexibility limitations.

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