Azerbaijan has been involved in the Torino Process since its inception in 2010, but it’s only recently that the oil-rich republic has begun reform in earnest of its vocational education and training (VET) system.
This was signalled by the adoption in 2016 of a ‘State Strategy on the Development of Education’. In addition, the Order of the President, (16/04/2016) on a ‘Strategic Roadmap on National Economy on Economic Sectors Direction’ on the development of eight core sectors for diversifying the country’s economy. The order, which includes VET as a priority sector, has given a new impetus to prioritise reform.
Nigar Ismayilzada, Azerbaijan’s Torino Process coordinator, says the 2016-17 #ETFTRP round has seen more ‘national coordination, commitment and stakeholder involvement.’
Stakeholders involved in drafting the Torino Process report include ministries of education, economy, labour and agriculture, national statistic bodies and employer groups.
‘Challenged by reforms in VET, we focus on several dimensions and coordinate between different government bodies, the social and private sectors,’ says Nigar, who heads up the IVET Division at the Ministry of Education.
‘The Torino Process is a very good tool to come together and look at challenges and priorities from various perspectives.’
Developments on the ground
There have been major reforms over recent years – with State Agencies for VET and Accreditation established.
Rationalisation of VET schools has begun in Baku and Ganja, the country’s second largest city, in which 32 VET schools have been merged into 13 new State Vocational Education Centres, each with a specialised focus, such as tourism or transportation.
The Torino Process impact on VET in Azerbaijan can be summed up in three words: sharing, benchmarking and prioritisation, Nigar adds.
‘Our VET reform is still at an early stage, so we’d like to learn international experience from others and adapt to local needs, for example about public private partnerships, development of teaching programmes and curricula content.’
Benchmarking is already helping VET policymakers and professionals to understand their progress and thus to identify priorities – that include labour market relevance, infrastructure development, legal reform and governance.
‘In Azerbaijan, VET is in a transition period,’ she adds. ‘We firmly believe our efforts will result in building an effective system for future generations and contribute to economic development.’