In the lead up to the Torino Process international conference on June 7-8, ETF partner countries have been taking part in a series of regional-level policy forums on vocational education and training (VET) and skills for economic development. Ownership has been a key feature running throughout.
We continue the series with the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean region – Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Israel, Libya, Morocco, Palestine* and Tunisia
Youth unemployment, low levels of female participation in the labour market and high unemployment among university graduates – three key economic and education structural challenges facing countries of the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean (SEMED) region.
The fourth round of the Torino Process is helping specialists identify the challenges, opportunities and needs for skills training.
‘Some countries are growing beyond 3% but others are not even at 1% – recovering, but very slowly, Martiño Rubal Maseda, ETF statistician told the regional-level policy forum in Rabat, Morocco.
Women’s participation in the labour market is as low as 14 or 15% in some countries, such as Jordan. Youth unemployment rates, average 30%, across the region and many young people are not in education, employment or training (NEET). Higher education graduates whose academic qualifications are ill matched to labour market demands represent another ‘wasted resource’.
Education, labour and social affairs ministers, officials, businesses and other VET stakeholders across the region recognise the challenge and a multitude of programmes, policies and initiatives are being implemented to address it.
In Egypt, three key reforms have been identified: to shift the VET curriculum to a competence-based approach to meet the ‘real demands of the workplace’, to upgrade the national network of 1,200 technical schools, and to introduce new profiles that better reflect labour market needs.
Israel’s future VET priorities include the development of more regional centres and greater coordination between schools so they can learn from each other and even benefit from finding economies of scale.
In Jordan, to tackle female unemployment, satelite training schemes have been set up in rural areas aimed at women, mostly those working in clothing manufacture.
The establishment of a national labour market information system is a priority for Lebanon so that VET is more closely aligned with the labour market.
In Morocco, a new VET observatory, the Regional Professional Occupation and Sector Skills Observatory, is working with SME’s to support better evidence-based decision making through providing a framework for collecting and analysing relevant industry, labour market and training data.
In Tunisia, moves to devolve political and administrative responsibility to the country’s regions are moving ahead. Involved in #ETFTRP since it was launched in 2010, Tunisia is one of only three countries in the SEMED region that is experimenting with local implementation of VET reforms.
In Palestine, a new scheme to introduce and train a new cadre of monitoring and evaluation experts, drawing on qualified graduates from within the territory is an important instruments for tackling youth unemployment, social inclusion and women’s participation.
Tunisia is moving ahead to devolve political and administrative responsibility to the countries regions. Involved in the Torino Process since its launch in 2010, Tunisia is one of only three countries in the region that is experimenting with local implementation of VET reforms.
To enthusiastic applause, Mhmed Kouidmi, a self-styled ‘social entrepreneur’ and managing director of Algerian company BusinessWise, intervened during a plenary discussion to emphasise: ‘We cannot build sustainable solutions for the future by people from the past working in the present. We need to look to the future now!’
* This designation shall not be construed as recognition of a State of Palestine and is without prejudice to the individual positions of the EU Member States on this issue.
We will be looking to the future at the Torino Process ‘Changing Skills for a Changing World’ international conference on June 7-8. See you there!