Structural reform in vocational training

Project description

Project title: Structural reform in Vocational Education and Training (VET)

Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)

Country: Republic of Moldova

Lead executing agency: Ministry of Education (MoE) and Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industry (MAIA)

Overall term: 2015 to 2018

Context
Despite the low cost of labour and favourable tax incentives, only a small number of international manufacturing companies have decided to invest in Moldova. One of the main factors affecting both industrial productivity and foreign direct investment is the lack of a skilled workforce. A significant mismatch exists between the needs of the labour market and the competences acquired by VET graduates of vocational training. This problem has developed due to the overly centralised, state-controlled vocational education and training (VET) system, shortfalls in the infrastructure available to training providers, a lack of correlation between theoretical and practical training content, and a low level of social partner involvement in designing and implementing training measures.

The Government of Moldova has initiated reforms to its VET system, under which industry players will be more deeply involved. This in turn should ensure a more demand-oriented provision of training. The recently amended strategic and policy framework for education provides for the introduction and pilot implementation of dual VET models. In line with the provisions of the revised Education Code, a number of apprenticeship agreements were concluded in starting 2014. These were the first step in towards installing an improved mechanism to regulate labour market demand and VET supply.

Objective
The education policy and the relevant institutional framework have been improved in order to promote demand-oriented dual VETvocational education and training.

Approach
This project is part of the overarching programme ‘Sustainable Economic Development in the Republic of Moldova’. It supports its main partner organisations, the Ministry of Education (MoE) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industry (MAIA), as well as a number of private sector stakeholders, social partners and training providers in pursuing a constructive dialogue, in order to identify common approaches to strengthening the regulatory framework for VET. The project’s support includes the provision of expert advice and capacity building activities. The main areas of interventions include:

Policy advice to strengthen the regulatory framework for dual VET. The project aims to create a platform for dialogue and consensus-building, after having mapped all the relevant actors and identified a baseline of current practice at all policy levels. This platform will be managed by MoE and MAIA, and will include other line ministries, as well as business representatives, education providers and civil society. Particular focus is placed on the agriculture sector. The project assists the ministries in identifying and refining the existing framework of institutional structures and financing models, and in developing the necessary curricula and standards for a dual VET approach.

Encouraging private- sector involvement in piloting dual VET initiatives. The project is working to strengthen the role of private enterprises and agricultural businesses in shaping vocational training to match their needs more closely. This involves the piloting of dual VET models by selected enterprises, in close cooperation with state education providers. Meanwhile the project is also supporting private business associations, social partnership bodies, chambers of commerce and industry, and sector commissions. It promotes their capacity to represent the interests of the private sector in driving the national policy dialogue for demand-driven VET. This should result in the education and business sectors collaborating as they adopt features of the dual approach.

Improving the image of VET. The project assists stakeholders involved in dual training models to identify examples of good practice, and to present these to their target groups, which include teachers, students and parents. By raising awareness about the benefits of dual vocational education and training, it is hoped this will enhance the overall image of VET.