Partnerships in VET monitoring processes driving economies

Osnabrück Declaration Process and Torino Process team up to support vocational education and training in EU candidate countries

The “Osnabrück Declaration and the Recommendation on VET - Follow up on the National Implementation Plans and Torino Process in the South Eastern Europe and Turkey (SEET) region” was the subject of a webinar on Wednesday 27 April. Hosted by the ETF, the two hour webinar featured multiple speakers and participants.

Carmo Gomes at the ETF emphasized the synergies of the Osnabrück Declaration and the Torino Process to drive forward the economic recovery through education and skills development. "Critical to the success of both processes and any adaptation is ETF's partnership with key stakeholders in the region," she said. 

The Osnabrück Declaration, signed in November 2020, paves the way forward for vocational education and training (VET) as an enabler of economic recovery in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic in the candidate countries of the European Union, namely Albania, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Turkey. The Declaration focuses on four main areas: resilience and excellence through quality, inclusive and flexible VET; establishing a new lifelong learning culture – relevance of continuing VET and digitalisation; sustainability – a green link in VET; and European education and training area and international VET.

The Torino Process was started in 2010 to develop among ETF partner countries ways to analyse VET, and have a more efficient policy cycle based on evidence, cooperation and dialogue. The process has undergone multiple reviews, most recently in 2018. In 2022, a New Torino process is being developed, with a focus on system performance indicators (SPIs) and  lifelong learning (LLL).

“The new Torino Process is based on two levels, with level 1 aiming at monitoring system performance for LLL through SPIs, and secondly, about contextualising and analysing the policy outcomes of level 1. The logic underlining this orientation is also to support partner countries and to enlarge the learning opportunities for their citizens,” said Aziz Jaouani at the ETF.

The Osnabrück Declaration National Implementation Plans (NIPs) are currently being finalised, and the new Torino Process is still under development.

The Torino Process country reviews – which are voluntary – are undertaken by region, and will be carried out in the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean by Q3 2022, South Eastern Europe and Turkey by Q1 2023, and the Eastern Partnership and Central Asia by Q1 2024.

Torino Process questionnaire

The ETF’s Mihaylo Milovanovitch talked attendees through the questionnaire that will be used to assess policies under the Torino Process. He said the ETF was stream-lining the process, and making responses from countries as easy as possible with “most of the heavy lifting being done by the ETF through open source” data collection.

Milovanovitch said there were no minimum requirements in the written responses by countries. “We don’t expect you to write a chapter for each question. The length is up to you -  one to three paragraphs, whatever is needed as explanation.”

He stressed that responses do have to be backed up with data. “If you say we have made tremendous progress, it is good to know the proof for that statement.”

The Torino Process has 30 defined outcomes. “We have already identified the possible selection of areas for LLL reviews, and we are working on the review methodology. A mature version of the process will reach countries in early May,” said Milovanovitch.

More information on the event can be found on the dedicated page on the ETF’s Open Space

Regional update

During the webinar, officials from five candidate countries gave presentations on their formulated priorities and measures and how the national priorities of the countries are aligned with EU priorities.

Marko Vukasinovic, Head of Directorate for Planning and Implementation of EU Funds at the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports of Montenegro, said the country had been moving forward in its VET policies and adoption of the European Union’s Youth Guarantee. He highlighted the harmonisation of VET provision with labour market needs, and the adoption of digitalisation of VET.

Vukasinovic said there were shortcoming in skills forecasts and evidence-based assessments of VET. “There is a great need for high quality labour market information and a more thorough understanding of labour market trends. To do so, we must have data on the outcomes of VET. We also have to develop sectoral skills forecasts and plan initial and continuing VET provision accordingly,” he said.

Goran Spasovski, Advisor for planning and implementation of international cooperation at VET Centre of the Republic of North Macedonia, discussed the country’s National Implementation Plan. North Macedonia has 75 vocational education centres, with three regional centres, and aims to establish two more centres with the support of the EU.  Spasovski said that more assessments of labour market requirements are needed, together with improved networking between institutions.

Olta Manjani, Albania’s Deputy Minister of Finance and Economy, said that the development of the National Implementation Plan coincided with the country’s new strategy for jobs and skills by 2030.

“We are finalising the broad strategic priorities, and are allocating indicative measures of the Osnabrück Declaration to these priorities. The Youth Guarantee plan is also being finalised, and will be integrated with the same strategic policy document for the sector,” she said.

Albania is working on three flagship measures: a national skills intelligence system, supporting the development of digital infrastructure for teaching and learning, and introducing measures to green TVET learning.

Gabrijela Grujic, Serbia’s Assistant Minister of Education, Science and Technological Development, said that the country’s National Implementation Plan was in harmony with EU policies and a network for adult education is also being developed.

She added that Serbia was improving the legislative, institutional and methodological framework for the development of qualification standards. “I would like to stress that we are going to develop a new dual study programme by 2025, with 10 active programmes, and increase the number of students to 1,000,” said Grujic.

Eren Suna, an advisor to Turkey’s Minister of National Education, said the country was still working on implementation plans to improve TVET. “There is major coherence with the Torino Process standards, and we will soon be announcing the detailed implementation plan for the Osnabrück Declaration,” he said.

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