In December 2016, six teams of students from two universities in the Czech Republic participated in the country’s first Evaluation Case Competition. Student teams prepared advice for a non-governmental organization, Nová škola, on evaluation of a program to help retain Roma youth in school. The case was available in both Czech and English.
The competition was a great success. The main organizer, Jana Garay, reports that the night before the competition, one of the coaches said, "No matter the final result, the students greatly appreciated the learning experience they gained through practicing for the competition". One of the judges, who during her career has seen many professional evaluation proposals, commented, "It was a new experience for me, and a surprise to see how well the student teams were able to prepare their submissions in such a limited time."
Jana was inspired to create the Czech competition after participating in the 2010 and 2011 CES Evaluation Case Competitions (see 2010 final programme and 2011 final programme) on teams at the University of Saskatchewan coached by Karen Lawson. In both years the Saskatchewan teams made it to the final round held at the CES Conference. There Jana had an opportunity to meet Bea Courtney and absorb some of her tremendous enthusiasm for the case competition. Jana greatly appreciated the learning experience and recognized the potential of the case competition for evaluation capacity building. Participating in the Canadian case competition strongly influenced her choice of evaluation as profession.
The world now has two Evaluation Case Competitions, Canadian and Czech. This would be a good point in time to encourage more national evaluation societies to set up local competitions as the prelude to an eventual international competition.