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 finish the special 4 part series in Central Asia – Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan
There was enthusiasm and engagement at the regional forum in Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic, that can be summed up in one word: ownership.
As the Torino Process approaches the conclusion of its fourth round since being launched in 2010, it is clear that VET specialists, experts and officials are integrating evidence-based reform into their daily routine.
For the first time, Central Asia participants are producing their own country reports. The shift in attitudes by ministry officials, VET school chiefs and institutional experts means that responsibility for and ownership of the process is palpable.
Subhon Ashurov, an independent expert assisting the working group at Tajikistan’s Ministry of Labour, Migration and Employment, says this round marks the beginning of the ‘ownership’ period.
Appointed by the prime minister, the working group is bringing together the efforts of five sector groups concentrating on Torino Process priority areas: overview and vision; labour market demand; the social sector; internal efficiency; and governance and policy.
‘Taking ownership improves the potential of the work of the ministry, supports analysis and leads to concrete recommendations,’ says Mr Ashurov, Dean of Sectoral Information Technologies, at Tajikistan Technological University, Dushanbe.
It is a point that has clearly entered the thinking of the most senior VET managers in the region. In his opening remarks to the forum, Taalaibek Cholponkulov, head of the Kyrgyz Ministry of Education and Science’s Agency for Initial and Secondary VET, said: ‘We are ready to share our experience; this year we have taken responsibility to make a report and demonstrate our achievements.’
Those achievements include a groundbreaking new Kyrgyz tracer survey on how well VET schools prepare students for the labour market.
In neighbouring Kazakhstan, the database – managed by the Kazakh Ministry of Education’s National Analytical Centre – is digitalising information on 18,000+ educational institutions from pre-school to secondary VET. The new digital system has saved 560 working days by reducing labour intensive old paper-based practices, says Dinara Alimkhanova, the centre’s VET development manager.
‘The government, ministries, international agencies – such as the UNDP, UNICEF, World Bank and World Economic Forum, all use this data,’ she notes.
Addressing the issue of young people not in work or study, and challenges of migrant workers, were shared themes, and improving financing, equipment and teacher training.
The importance of the regional forum was highlighted by participants who agreed that recommendations in the national reports would be put forward for political approval.
Revisit the Growing Sense of Ownership series:
Pt. 3. Eastern Partnership region