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Partner countries context

The partner countries context where the ETF operates is definitely complex, as many countries face structural challenges in education and training that require sustained policy management to resolve.  The challenges comprise both the extent of the problems to be addressed and the capacities to address them.  Challenges include lack of policy vision for the development of vocational education and training and limitations in the co-ordination of vocational education and training with stakeholders to improve labour market relevance, social inclusion and poverty reduction.  Common problems in partner countries include:

  • limited opportunities for skills upgrading, including a lack of adult learning
  • high unemployment rates particularly among new entrants to the labour market;
     
  • significant gender differences and a need to address the issues of women’s employment, early school leavers and dropouts from vocational education and training;
     
  • large informal economies;
     
  • social exclusion linked to minorities, disadvantaged groups and under developed rural areas and regions;
     
  • lack of quality or relevance in education and training services;
     
  • under financing or low level of public sector involvement in education and training; and limited or missing co-sharing financial schemes and public-private partnerships.
     
  • mismatch between the supply and demand for skilled workers in certain occupations; and,
     
  • labour market rigidity linked to employment.
     

Although data collection initiatives are underway in many countries, it is not consistent across the regions. The capacities of countries to gather and analyse data and translate it into policy strategies are often limited. The absence of appropriate evidence can diminish the effectiveness of both local policy making and the relevance of the EU's assistance. Similarly, institutional cooperation, e.g. between education and business or between different levels of decision making in education (multi-level governance) frequently needs to be strengthened to ensure that policy and implementation is appropriately coordinated.  

The ETF seeks to renew the attention given in partner countries to vocational education and training and the contribution it can make to sustainable economic development through lifelong learning.



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