Tajikistan: ETF supports vocational education reform
Representatives of the main institutions having a stake in Tajikistan’s vocational education and training (VET) took part in three conferences in the capital Dushanbe and two provincial towns, Khujand and Kurgantube, between 19 and 23 April. The participants discussed recent developments in VET and their plans for the future. The events were organised by the ETF in the framework of the 2012 Torino Process.
The participants discussed a broad range of issues—from the country’s vision of VET to links between education and labour market, and society at large; to the quality of training offer; and system’s efficiency, governance and financing.
‘The government recognises that education can be a tool of social and economic development, and this puts VET high on the reform agenda,’ said Franca Crestani, ETF country manager for Tajikistan. As recently as 20 April, the President of Tajikistan, Emomali Rahmonov, declared in his annual speech that VET was a priority sector and would be expanded in the future.
It will not however be easy to achieve that goal. Tajikistan is a low income country. Jobs are scarce and up to a million Tajik citizens’ work abroad, typically in Russia. They support their families in Tajikistan through remittances, which add up to 40 percent of the country’s GDP.
Moreover, the policy review done under the 2010 Torino Process found that VET system did not deliver the kind of knowledge, skills and competences that would enable its students to find or create gainful and decent employment. Businesses that offer jobs are dissatisfied with the skills that VET school graduates possess.
In the meeting with the ETF, Nuriddin Saidov, the new Minister of Education, and Temur Tabarovich Tabarov, deputy Minister of Labour, said they were aware about the importance of the capacity of the education institutions to implement reforms. They considered the ETF’s support in this area especially valuable. In particular, capacity building programme for directors of VET schools and adult training centres was much appreciated.
There are already some positive developments. Since the last edition of the Torino Process, the Ministry of Labour developed an employment strategy, which gave due attention to the continuing training. Then in the new education strategy, the Ministry of Education made VET an integral part of the education system. Both documents are a product of extensive consultations with other ministries, employers’ organisations and international donors.
In the past years, there have been encouraging signs on the ground, too. The adult education system has been very quickly developed with the number of training centres increasing from 4 to 28 in four years.
‘Problems of unemployment, migration, low wages and low quality of education cannot be solved immediately,’ said Ms Crestani. ‘But any long-term solution must be linked to a comprehensive human capital development policy and here VET has important role to play.’