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Torino Process: Central Asia update

Year/Date: 14/09/2016


Central Asia faces some of the most critical education and labour market challenges in the countries of the former Soviet Union. The Torino Process is bringing stakeholders from across the region together to find real solutions.

Stakeholders from ETF Cenral Asia partner countries met in Bishkek for a three-day regional conference on the ETF's flagship programme – an evidence based approach to analysis and development of vocational education and training, skills and policies.

The forum is one of a range of regional events enabling experts to share progress and thrash out the key details of their national reports ahead of the 2017 international Torino Process conference.

Taalaibek Cholponkulov director of the Kyrgyz Republic's Agency for Initial and Secondary VET under the Ministry of Education, called it 'a great opportunity to exchange experiences in VET.'

'We are ready to share our experience; this year we have taken on the responsibility to make a report and demonstrate our achievements and differences. We can discuss those with you during these days of the forum.'

Jaap Ora, Head of the Political, Press and Information Section of the EU Delegation to the Kyrgyz Republic, praised the ETF's work as 'an active participant in the development community', noting the priority the Kyrgyz government is putting on education 'one of the key sectors the EU supports' in the country.

The ETF's Arjen Vos reminded participants of the progress made in VET development - and their societies as a whole - in the 25 years since they gained independence from the Soviet Union, events that have been marked in national celebrations across the region in recent weeks.

The adoption of the Torino Process by participant countries since 2010, also helped focus attention on what has been achieved and what more needs to be done.

'We are moving from a focus on the educational part of VET towards an orientation on the labour market; we are not providing VET only so students can get diplomas,' he said. 'Now the objective is very much to make this education productive and have students find jobs.'

The point is one that is very much at the forefront of regional attention: in Kyrgyzstan a pilot project to establish a tracer study of VET graduate routes into employment and further study was set up three years ago with ETF backing after a request from members of the national association of VET college directors.

More than 30 VET schools and colleges are now involved in an approach that is proving so successful the government plans to take it nationwide - and involve Higher Education institutes too.

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