Montenegro students

Montenegro: Torino Process the way forward

As the preparation of Montenegro's 5th round Torino Process Report continues, key stakeholders gathered in Podgorica at the national Ministry of Education

Montenegro: Torino Process the way forward

As the preparation of Montenegro's 5th round Torino Process Report continues, key stakeholders gathered Tuesday in Podgorica at the national Ministry of Education with ETF experts on hand to reflect on and finalise this key evaluation for the vocational education and training system.

Tools for improvement

Montenegro has long been an enthusiastic participant of the Torino Process - the ETF's flagship evidence-based tool for evaluating progress in implementing policy reform in vocational education and training. With the 5th round report coming at a time when public and private sector stakeholders in vocational training are beginning to plan for a new national VET strategy 2021-24 and just ahead of the EU's post-2020 planning, reviewing priority areas in the sector comes at a crucial juncture.

Eva Jimeno Sicilia, the ETF's Head of Analysis and Coordination, the unit that runs the Torino Process, said:

"The EU is already thinking about post-2020. The Torino Process is ideally positioned to work with this; this is a prime opportunity for Montenegro," she told participants that included officials from the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Labour and stakeholders from employers and industrial associations, VET organisations and employment agencies.

Strategic approaches

The Torino Process could be of wider benefit, Romain Boitard, from the EU Delegation to Montenegro said.

"Education is one of the sectors where EU collaboration in Montenegro has shown great potential. The VET system needs to be adapted proactively to the rapid changes and demands of the labour market," he said.

With the EU's Economic Partnership Agreement 3 coming up within the next year, it was "highly likely that programme maturity will be prioritised" he added - indicating that those countries that have sophisticated and polished strategies ready to submit would find a warm welcome from Brussels.

Sectors in focus

Zora Bogicevic, of the Ministry of Education who is Montenegro's national Torino Process coordinator said that although take up of VET in Montenegro was high by regional standards - 19,000 out of 28,000 students in secondary education attended technical training courses – higher education remained the preferred choice for tertiary options, even though labour market opportunities were stronger for technical, rather than academic graduates, she noted.

The government has been succeeding in tackling high levels of unemployment with the figure down from just over 20% in 2017 to 18.4% in 2018, but "key questions relating to links between VET and the labour market and progress on entrepreneurial training" remain.

More work needs to be done on improving key competencies in VET and improving the validation of prior, non-formal and informal learning as well as lifelong learning and attention to the needs of minorities, Ms Bogicevic said.

Improving the roll out of dual education - introduced two years ago - remains a priority, with more cooperation and coordination needed between VET and employers, she added.

Ways forward

Marie Dorleans, for the ETF, said it was clear that in the wider scope Montenegro had three main challenges for its VET strategy.

  • Skills mismatch and the school to work transition, plus the validation of non-formal learning
  • A need for a greater focus on adult education and retraining, with access to upskilling for the workforce
  • Better cooperation and coordination between public and private stakeholders and inter-ministerial cooperation.

Although there was clearly need for improvement, the degree to which dual education has been adopted and has earn widespread public acceptance was "encouraging" she said.

Background info

To know more about EU support and ETF activities in Montenegro.