More practical experience and standards: supporting the reform of vocational education and training
Title: Professional Education and Vocational Training in Central Asia – Fostering Systemic Approaches in the Food Processing Sector
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Countries: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan (and to a certain extent Turkmenistan)
Lead executing agencies: Ministries for education and research in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, Ministry of Higher and Secondary Specialized Education in Uzbekistan
Overall term: 2019 to 2022
Ministries for education and research in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, Ministry of Higher and Secondary Specialized Education in UzbekistanCentral Asia has a young population, nearly one third of whom are under the age of 15. The annual population growth rate is almost two per cent. Youth unemployment is already a problem today and is set to present the partner countries with increasing economic, social and political challenges in the future. Accordingly, there is a great need for qualified experts. There is a lack of employment-relevant training courses that correspond to the requirements of the labour market.
This is particularly the case, for example, in the food processing industry, which is of great significance for long-term economic development and employment promotion in all Central Asian states. Although the partner countries have placed a corresponding emphasis in their policies, they are only hesitantly implementing necessary reforms for employment-oriented vocational education and training. In addition, they are making too little use of the potential offered by regional cooperation to promote a cross-border training and labour market.
The normative and institutional foundations for employment-oriented vocational education and training in Central Asia have improved, especially in the food processing industry.
The Professional Education and Vocational Training in Central Asia (PECA) project builds on the results achieved by previous vocational education and training projects in Central Asia. PECA supports vocational education and training reform in Central Asia, using the food processing industry as a model. It pays particular attention here to labour market orientation and the introduction of international quality standards. The project supports regional harmonisation and the compatibility of national vocational education and training.
PECA promotes in-depth regional cooperation between the partner countries. Overall, the project promotes the system of dual vocational education and training, in which part of the teaching content is learned in businesses. In steering committees and working groups, the actors involved coordinate guidelines for further developing their national vocational education and training systems. The ideas for national reform are then discussed and coordinated at regional level.
Moreover, the project is concentrating on enabling relevant actors from politics, business and education in the individual Central Asian states to develop a common basis for needs-oriented vocational education and training in the food processing industry. Essentially, this entails developing and updating industry-relevant career and training standards and establishing strategies for dual training in vocational education and training and university education. The project is introducing individual education and training courses on a trial basis.
PECA supports the involvement of companies in designing industry-relevant courses for vocational training and university education. Specifically, it supports the development and implementation of dual vocational education and training for food technologists at pilot schools in the partner countries. At universities, the project promotes the development of a dual Bachelor’s course in logistics at one model university in each of the four partner countries.
Finally, PECA promotes the role of chambers of industry and commerce, professional associations and technology transfer centres as actors in the partner countries’ vocational education and training systems. With the aid of the project, the institutions specified are to expand the appropriate range of services they offer for companies and/or educational institutions. One central measure of PECA here is to provide advice on setting up an independent certification system for professional qualifications that is organised by business.