Vocational education and training reforms in Armenia | EUNewsletter

Vocational education and training reforms in Armenia

25 December 2010

Milena Corradini
Milena Corradini

Reform of education and training programmes has been a long-term EU objective. The EU has supported VET reforms since 2003 with a Tacis project and budget support. The European Training Foundation (ETF) also works to support the reform of vocational education and training (VET) in Armenia in order to make it more relevant to the needs of the labour market.
The ETF is an agency of the European Union, established in 1990 and located in Italy, which works with non-European member states. In 2009 the ETF launched an innovation and learning project on “Education and Training for Economic Competitiveness” specifically targeting VET reforms in Armenia. The ETF works mainly with the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Labor and the Ministry of Economy, with regional governors and education departments. College management boards have been established in all VET colleges to strengthen the social dialogue and disseminate the results of the competitiveness project carried out in 2010 in Lori and Tavush regions.
Within the framework of this project, in October 2010, the ETF supported two stakeholders’ workshops in the marzes of Tavush and Lori to discuss key findings of a survey on education as a tool for promoting competitiveness and economic cohesion. Ms. Milena Corradini, the ETF Country Manager for Armenia, was in Yerevan to participate in these seminars. She shared her views about ETF contributions and future plans with us:
– As a Country Manager for Armenia, what do you consider as the first and the foremost issue in the educational system of the country?
– First of all there is an issue related to the quality of education and training, which is of  importance for the country. The first problem is quality, then transparency, mobility between high schools and vocational schools, between high schools and universities. Education is a very difficult subject. It is not like building a bridge. Education takes time. You need to start changing the curricula, the subjects, training the teachers. You need to see what is the impact of students on the labour market with a new system. You need to monitor the mechanism. It is difficult not only in Armenia, but also in European countries and needs more resources. Reform of education is a difficult issue everywhere you work, not only in Armenia.
– What visible changes can you see throughout your work in Armenia?
– The visible changes are the windows, replaced in the schools, the heating system, working in the schools, the roofs, repaired in the schools. These are the most visible ones. 12 pilot VET colleges have been selected to receive EU financial support and they are located in all the marzes. It is more difficult to assist the content or the quality of education.
– Young people leaving schools face difficulty finding jobs. How does the ETF see tackling the problem?
– There should be better cooperation between employers and companies in Armenia. Education and training is important, but at the same time, there should be economic development as well. It is necessary to attract foreign investors to Armenia and create tools on credit lines for people, who are willing to establish small and medium-sized companies; there should be capital to invest in companies and in the business.
– What other projects are you going to implement in Armenia?
– We continue working on vocational education and training. Next year we will focus on social partnership, quality, institution building and improving the qualification framework. We will continue to work with the Ministry of Education and with social partner institutions in the regions.

Vocational education and training reforms in Armenia

[caption id="attachment_449" align="alignright" width="199" caption="Milena Corradini"]Milena Corradini[/caption] Reform of education and training programmes has been a long-term EU objective. The EU has supported VET reforms since 2003 with a Tacis project and budget support. The European Training Foundation (ETF) also works to support the reform of vocational education and training (VET) in Armenia in order to make it more relevant to the needs of the labour market. The ETF is an agency of the European Union, established in 1990 and located in Italy, which works with non-European member states. In 2009 the ETF launched an innovation and learning project on “Education and Training for Economic Competitiveness” specifically targeting VET reforms in Armenia. The ETF works mainly with the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Labor and the Ministry of Economy, with regional governors and education departments. College management boards have been established in all VET colleges to strengthen the social dialogue and disseminate the results of the competitiveness project carried out in 2010 in Lori and Tavush regions. Within the framework of this project, in October 2010, the ETF supported two stakeholders’ workshops in the marzes of Tavush and Lori to discuss key findings of a survey on education as a tool for promoting competitiveness and economic cohesion. Ms. Milena Corradini, the ETF Country Manager for Armenia, was in Yerevan to participate in these seminars. She shared her views about ETF contributions and future plans with us: - As a Country Manager for Armenia, what do you consider as the first and the foremost issue in the educational system of the country? - First of all there is an issue related to the quality of education and training, which is of  importance for the country. The first problem is quality, then transparency, mobility between high schools and vocational schools, between high schools and universities. Education is a very difficult subject. It is not like building a bridge. Education takes time. You need to start changing the curricula, the subjects, training the teachers. You need to see what is the impact of students on the labour market with a new system. You need to monitor the mechanism. It is difficult not only in Armenia, but also in European countries and needs more resources. Reform of education is a difficult issue everywhere you work, not only in Armenia. - What visible changes can you see throughout your work in Armenia? - The visible changes are the windows, replaced in the schools, the heating system, working in the schools, the roofs, repaired in the schools. These are the most visible ones. 12 pilot VET colleges have been selected to receive EU financial support and they are located in all the marzes. It is more difficult to assist the content or the quality of education. - Young people leaving schools face difficulty finding jobs. How does the ETF see tackling the problem? - There should be better cooperation between employers and companies in Armenia. Education and training is important, but at the same time, there should be economic development as well. It is necessary to attract foreign investors to Armenia and create tools on credit lines for people, who are willing to establish small and medium-sized companies; there should be capital to invest in companies and in the business. - What other projects are you going to implement in Armenia? - We continue working on vocational education and training. Next year we will focus on social partnership, quality, institution building and improving the qualification framework. We will continue to work with the Ministry of Education and with social partner institutions in the regions.