|VOCATIONAL EDUCATION AND
Although there has been substantial progress in the Vocational Education and Training (VET) Sector , the Ministry of Education and Science is still facing number of challenges:
• The status of vocational education and training remains low. This is reflected in the low social take-up rates of VET courses, the students’ preference being for University programmes. Similarly employers are not convinced of the relevance of the training provided in VET institutions towards their employment needs;
• A lack of synergy between VET programmes and current and future labour market needs;
• An out-dated qualifications system and curriculum. Although this problem is currently being addressed through the introduction of stricter quality controls, improved teacher training, and the piloting of a new modular approach to VET programmes, there is much that needs to be done, notably such as the establishment of a VET inspectorate / assessment;
• Limited linkages between the field of education and the field of work: the learning is largely classroom-based, with restricted access to work experience, and work-based learning opportunities;
A draft Strategy for the development of VET (2013-2020) has been prepared with EU support and accompanied by a detailed Action Plan (2013-2017). Both documents were formally approved in December 2013. The detailed planning of the VET Action Plan for 2018-2020 will follow based on a mid-term evaluation to be held in 2017. The overall objectives of the strategy are to promote greater synergy between the VET system and labour market needs, to ensure full employability of VET graduates in meaningful and, where appropriate, well remunerated and personally rewarding occupations. These objectives will be met by measures designed to: develop high-quality VET programmes reflective of current and future labour market needs; prepare cadres of VET educators possessing modern pedagogic skills; establish a system of nationally and internationally recognized awards and qualifications; create a flexible network of well-funded, well-equipped and well-managed public and private VET providers; raise the profile of vocational education and training as an attractive and rewarding pathway for personal and professional development; and to engage the social partners and civil society in the development of VET policy and in decision-making.
The MoES has evolved comprehensive institutional arrangements for the management and implementation of vocational education and training, and has acquired substantial experience in elaborating and monitoring VET policy, largely through its previous involvement in a Sector Policy Support Programme (2009-2012). Within the MoES, the VET Development Department is responsible for the definition, coordination and management of VET policy. The Department comprises three Divisions (Policy, Monitoring and Social Partnership). There are six agencies subordinate to the MoES, National Centre for Educational Quality Enhancement (NCEQE), National Teacher Professional Development Centre (NTPDC), Educational and Scientific Infrastructure Development Agency (ESIDA), Education Management Information System (EMIS), Office of Resource Officers in Educational Institutions (OROEI), and National Assessment and Evaluation Centre (NAEC), which contribute to the overall design, management and implementation of VET policy.
Based on the outputs from EU technical assistance project (2012-2013) “Quality Enhancement and Capacity Building in VET”, the NCEQE has been put in charge of piloting and mainstreaming modular TVET curriculum and revised system of TVET qualifications and QA mechanisms aiming to create market responsive TVET programmes that will be comparable to EU qualifications and promote mobility and recognition of qualifications.
The data on the numbers of authorised and accredited public and private VET providers, compiled by the National Centre for Educational Quality Enhancement show that the private sector is undergoing a rapid expansion. There are presently 50 private community colleges 19 private VET Colleges. The number of public sector VET providers has diminished since 2009 as a result of reorganisation, mergers and privatisation. At present there are 21 public sector providers (a mixture of Vocational Colleges – 11, and Community Colleges – 9). Info Centres were established in 2011 to manage the process of registration and admission to public VET Colleges. There are approximately 14 280 registered VET students in the public and private institutions.
|LABOUR MARKET SECTOR
The Georgian Labour Market is presently faced with a number of challenges:• Long-term structural unemployment occasioned by the collapse of the industrial base following the break-up of the Soviet Union;
• Manifest underutilisation of labour resources as evidenced by the low participation of the working age population;
• A predominance of low value added and low-paid jobs, concentrated primarily in the agriculture, public services, and the wholesale and retail sectors;
• Despite favourable conditions for Foreign Direct Investment, extensive deregulation of the labour market, and a liberal regulatory framework supportive of business development, there is a dearth of new jobs being created and employers report difficulties in recruiting appropriately skilled staff to those jobs which are being created;
• There is an evident lack of understanding/information on the current structure of the labour market and the actual and potential growth points in labour demand, and limited support services for job-seekers;
• There is also limited coordination between education and VET policy and the needs and expectations of employers and potential and actual employees;
In 2006, the Government abolished the State Employment Services at central and local levels, closed the Labour and Employment Policy Department of the Ministry of Labour, Health and Social Affairs (MoLHSA) and pursued a very liberal/flexible labour market policy. In contrast the new Government has adopted a more interventionist approach: the Labour Code has been amended; a new Health and Safety Regulations are being drafted; and a new strategy of re-establishing labour market institutions is pursued. . The present Strategy was conceived as an interim document in order to guide immediate actions to tackle unemployment.
In February 2013, the MoLHSA established a new Department of Labour and Employment Policy. The Department comprises of three Divisions: Labour Relations and Social Partnership, Labour Market Analysis and Employment Promotion. The Ministry has a comparatively limited experience of designing and implementing employment and labour market policies, and acknowledges that it needs support to build institutional and human resource capacities, notably with respect to the elaboration, costing and monitoring of policy. Given the significance afforded to Health and Safety issues in the Association Agreement, the MoLHSA urgently needs to strengthen its legal drafting capacities and to reinforce the labour inspection services.
Responsibility for the provision of employment services has been allocated to the Social Service Agency. The statutes of the Social Service Agency have recently been amended to allocate the Agency a significant role in the coordination of the activities of the Employment Support Services (ESS) at national and district level, to host the Labour Market Information system, and to oversee implementation of labour market and employment policies
|GOOD PRACTICES IN LABOUR MARKET AND VOCATIONAL EDUCATION AND TRAINING
The current EU Technical Assistance (EUVEGE) project supports Georgia’s Sector Reforms in the areas of Labour Market / Employment and Vocational Education and Training (VET). The Government of Georgia strives for an update and adjustment of these sector policies according to international and in particular according to European standards. It is important to be aware of the position regarding sector policies among other countries in the world – and since Georgia is envisaging an approach to the European Union, it is crucial to compare and influence current situation with the EU sector policy standards and developments. With this material the EUVEGE project aims to provide a contribution to this orientation process.
From a wide range of international, especially EU experiences and best practice examples we choose those, which have in our opinion a clear and direct relation to current and future sector policy developments in the areas of Labour Market / Employment and VET. In the following best practice examples we also included cases from Georgia. In spite there is an urgent need for concentrated efforts at present and in future, to update and upgrade the regarding sector policies’ structures, methods and instruments; we also can find already now and here in Georgia good and effective solutions, which should be taken into consideration. This also shows very clearly, that also under the given, often still not optimal conditions, it is possible to establish and operate effective sector policy structures.
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