Re-thinking vocational education and training in Montenegro

Pioneering better governance and financing of vocational education and training in Montenegro

Montenegro has committed to reinforcing the governance and financing of its vocational education and training (VET) system in response to the results of a pioneering assessment carried out by the European Training Foundation (ETF) with the active participation of all partners in the country’s skills development system.

The assessment was presented to representatives of government, VET providers, social partners, employment services and civil society in Podgorica, Montenegro, on 4 October, at an event co-organised by the European Union (EU) Delegation to Montenegro, the ETF and the Montenegrin Ministry of Education. National stakeholders, together with experts from the ETF, the EU and other donors, took stock of the findings and exchanged views on the strengths and areas for improvement of the country’s vocational education and training system.

In response, national stakeholders committed to taking a more systematic and in-depth approach to VET governance and financing with a focus on moving towards a more holistic and result-oriented approach and enhancing private sector engagement. They also agreed to consider per capita funding as a more effective way of financing VET.

The assessment of the governance and financing of the country’s VET strategy was based on a methodology developed by the ETF at the request of the European Commission. It was being trialled for the first time in Montenegro prior to its roll-out to other countries.

Christophe Masson of the European Commission praised Montenegro for being a pioneer in successfully addressing the highly sensitive issues of governance and financing. “We could have failed“, he said, “but this did not happen. You can be proud”.

While stakeholders take an active interest in VET policy from design to implementation, the assessment highlighted the need for better inter-ministerial coordination, more active participation of business and civil society, more school autonomy and new resource allocation mechanisms, such as per-capita funding. Better governance requires a shared monitoring and evaluation framework.

Mr Marko Vukasinovic of the Ministry of Education welcomed the timeliness of the policy recommendations with a view to preparations for the post-2020 strategy. Mr Hermann Spitz, Head of Cooperation at the European Union Delegation to Montenegro told the participants that the  assessment is “yet another opportunity for you to voice your views and shape future VET policies as well as the utilisation of IPA[1] funds”. The EU has earmarked an additional €10.5 million in 2017/2018 for education, employment and other social sectors.

While stressing the ETF’s commitment to support Montenegro’s policy response to the assessment findings, in cooperation with the EU Delegation, Ms Carmo Gomes, Head of the ETF’s Country Intelligence Unit, proposed to showcase the Montenegrin Government’s boldness in tackling the sensitive issue of governance and financing at the South Eastern Europe and Turkey (SEET) Ministerial Meeting on VET.

[1] Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance, main source of EU funding in candidate countries like Montenegro

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