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Centres of Excellence and Innovation: reforming education and training in Ukraine

The decentralisation of vocational education and training to the regions of Ukraine is a work in progress.

The decentralisation of vocational education and training to the regions of Ukraine is a work in progress. In this context, the ETF is working together with Ukrainian authorities to facilitate the reform of education and address governance and financing issues.

The decentralisation process has many challenges, but one simple goal – to unveil the potential and benefits of vocational education at the regional level.

The EU has launched a budget support project to assist the on-going reforms. It will consolidate efforts and mobilise public resources to modernise vocational education providers in Ukraine.  Activities will start before the end of 2019, but in the meantime and in order to prepare the ground, the ETF, in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Science and the EU Delegation, has helped start a process of establishing Centres of Excellence and Innovation in vocational education and training in the country. These Centres will support the reform of vocational education and increase the efficiency of the skills development at the regional level.

The way forward for Ukraine

Ukrainian stakeholders met at a seminar on “Setting up VET Centres of Excellence and Innovation in Ukraine: learning practices for policy implementation” organised by the ETF on 5-6 March 2019 in Kyiv. They agreed on a finalised concept and roadmap for the Centres of Excellence initiative.

Officials from the Ministry of Education and Science presented a proposal on how to move forward with the implementation of the project by identifying priority economic sectors, such as agriculture, industry, mechanical engineering and transport, which will pilot the initiative.

The development of these Centres of Excellence is co-financed from the EU project and national funds. Centre of Excellence candidates are selected through an open and transparent competition with an evaluation committee made up of representatives from social partners, public authorities and civil society. The selection criteria include the extent of the regional dimension as well as the focus on economic development, demographic situation, the status of the regional vocational education system, previous experience with projects related to lifelong learning and the efficiency of stakeholder cooperation.

Background information

What is a Centre of Excellence and Innovation?

According to the ETF and based on international experience and best practice, Centres of Excellence:

  • Are networks of organisations that bring together different education providers in a public-private partnership.
  • Reflect national priorities in terms of industrial and economic development.
  • Have a strong orientation towards technological and innovative sectors.
  • Provide high quality qualifications and may facilitate the link to tertiary education.
  • Have the potential to play a strategic role in increasing the reputation and popularity of vocational education and training
  • Could rationalise the network of education providers, e.g by closing/merging institutions.
  • Require high-level investment and capacities, both human and financial.

The term “Centres of Excellence” may be referred to differently depending on the context of different countries, which can create confusion. They are sometimes known as industrial training institutes, industrial training centres, resource centres, regional centres, industry skills centres or multi-functional centres.

Additional resources

✅ Watch the video on vocational education and training in Ukraine: https://youtu.be/UdJHYTd1s4M

✅ Read more on ETF support in Ukraine: https://europa.eu/!Dt94mR

✅ Read more on EU projects in Ukraine: https://europa.eu/!Dr69UK