Strategic contributions to support the process of vocational education reform

Project description

Title: Strategic contributions to support the process of vocational education reform
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Paraguay
Lead executing agency: Paraguayan Ministry of Education and Culture (MEC)
Ministry of Education and Culture
Overall term: 2014 to 2016

Context

Despite the overall positive development of Paraguay’s economy in recent years, this predominantly agricultural country remains one of the poorest in South America. The pace of development in the trade and industrial sectors has been slow. Foreign direct investment is on the rise, however, and has also driven demand for qualified skilled workers. Industry today is already reporting shortages of skilled mechatronics workers, for example in mechanical and systems engineering, automotive engineering, and maintenance and service. As a result, increasing numbers of skilled workers from neighbouring Brazil and Argentina are being hired. Paraguay's vocational education system is unable to supply businesses with enough skilled workers trained to the required quality standards.

The government has launched efforts to reform the vocational education system and create a regulatory framework, and a new Vocational Education Act is awaiting approval by Congress. The goals are to increase the number of vocational education institutions, diversify the curricula and training courses offered, and focus more on professional shop-floor practice. The programme expressly emphasises the need for dialogue between state authorities and the private sector.

Objective

The curriculum, personnel and organisational prerequisites for cooperative, demand-oriented vocational education in the mechatronics sector are established.

Approach

The programme is making selected strategic contributions to the process of vocational education reform in Paraguay. Targeted support measures implemented in close cooperation with the local private sector and German businesses are aimed at developing and testing a cooperative training model that is oriented to the dual vocational training system and specially tailored to local conditions and needs. In addition, pilot projects are demonstrating the feasibility and benefits of cooperative vocational education, and the results and experience gained are being integrated into the political dialogue for reform of the vocational education system.

The programme's implementing partners are Paraguayan Ministry of Education and Culture, the Paraguayan-German Chamber of Industry and Commerce, the Industrial Association of Paraguay (UIP) and the School of Engineering of Asuncion National University (FIUNA). All participants are members of the steering committee of the planned cooperative training model.
These measures are aimed at benefiting young people who complete schooling with technical leaving certificates and take part in cooperative dual education programmes.