The ETF has been supporting countries in the Western Balkans and Turkey, the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia for over two decades to develop national data collection on education and skills development and employability. It also works in partnership with ot...
The ETF has been supporting countries in the Western Balkans and Turkey, the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia for over two decades to develop national data collection on education and skills development and employability. It also works in partnership with other international, regional and national organisations to reinforce and synthesise the data which is then disseminated throughout ETF networks and communication channels reaching a wide variety of stakeholders from the public, private and civic spheres.
Which type of data is needed?
It is no secret that policymakers usually prefer statistical data for decision-making which is often viewed as being more reliable, but this is not necessarily the case. What is important is the methodological rigour and reliability of the data, the scope of the study, for example whether it refers to a pilot study with limited numbers or a longitudinal study representative of a significant proportion of the population and how it is presented. A recent online discussion as part of the ETF’s Learning Connects series highlighted the importance of transparency and synthesis of data to ensure it gets communicated to policymakers and used for collaborative decision-making.
Large-scale data analysisoffers significant opportunities for labour market intelligence albeit with limitations. It captures what is happening, such as the number of qualifications, but it does not explain the more nuanced and unique circumstances of each teaching and learning experience, for example, why a student is facing learning difficulties. Understanding the lived experiences of actors within the education and training systems using qualitative data is just as necessary, and indeed an essential complement to quantitative data, to identify key trends and inform policy decision-making.
Which methods and tools?
Using a variety of sources, methods and instruments the aim has been to build a continuously updated comprehensive picture within each partner country on the modernisation process of vocational education and training (VET) systems. In recent years the focus has widened to human capital development within a lifelong learning perspective and in which VET plays a critical role.
The ETF’s works to improve data collection, processing and usage through the following activities:
Started in 2010 its aim is to develop ways to analyse VET, and have a more efficient policy cycle based on evidence, cooperation and dialogue. The Process takes place every two years, with the sixth round beginning in this year. A key feature is fostering stakeholder dialogue around data and evidence in policy reform.
KIESE: Key Indicators on Education, Skills, and Employment
Based on a set of indicators and implemented over the last decade this exercise highlights key issues influencing human capital development including vocational education and training (VET) policies, and the critical role of reliable data in policy-making.
The ETF monitors the implementation of policy actions on vocational education and training in candidate countries on their pathway to EU accession as set out in the Declaration for the period 2021-25. It follows on from the Riga cycle 2015 -2020. The ETF works closely with its sister EU agency Cedefopwhich undertakes monitoring in EU member states.Both institutions report annually to the EU institutions.
National Data Collection
The ETF draws upon nationally generated evidence produced by central statistical offices, social partners, civil society, think tanks, universities and other research organisations for its country and thematic knowledge base on various topics e.g. qualifications, quality assurance, work-based learning, platform work, digitalization, career guidance, skills needs etc.
Support for the capacity building of central statistical offices and other data collection bodies is an important component of the ETF’s country activities to ensure better governance of policy processes.
Targeted country specific data collection such as the ETF monitoring and collation of data on the impact of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on schools, education and labour markets. See the latest update and the article in this month’s edition (LINK).
Joint international studies
ETF works in partnership to produce data and expand data usage with other EU institutions and agencies, international intergovernmental organisations, such as the recent survey on career guidance; regional organisations such as the Education Reform Initiative of South Eastern Europe (ERI SEE); bilateral donor organisations; and the private sector.
The ETF supports the monitoring and evaluation of policies and reforms that allow for policy learning, whereby lessons are taken from evidence and experience so that governments and systems of governance can inform policy leading to policy change and effectiveness. This can happen within countries or across countries.
What are the challenges to data informing policy?
Responding to stakeholder needs
Different priorities in types of content by stakeholders show the need for the ETF to produce different products on different content for different groups of stakeholders. While one type of deliverable could show deeper, more analytical and thematically focused content, another could offer a broader, more comparable and generalised perspective on situation across different countries.
The ETF regularly consults stakeholders to understand their needs, through national meetings, focus groups and individual meetings with key policy actors and to ensure inclusiveness of stakeholders, especially those who are not always invited to policymaking discussions, for example teachers and student representatives. The future of education is and will be shaped by a myriad of decision makers – by students, parents, teachers, civil society, and policymakers.
Recognition of data limitations
Data availability is a significant challenge which varies greatly among and within regions, for example in South Eastern Europe and Turkey there is high availability, yet quality varies between countries, and in Central Asia it is generally less widely available than in other regions.
Although the coverage of labour market indicators is generally satisfactory across regions, the availability of other indicators, particularly education and training, remains limited. The ETF is working with each of the partner countries to ensure better coverage and quality of data as an integral part of all its activities.
Data is not apolitical
Data, whether quantitative or qualitative, is not apolitical. It reflects the professionals who produce it and environments in which it is produced.
Responding to policymakers on ‘what works’ for investing in VET for instance, often has no straightforward answer but sound options can be provided based on quality data using both quantitative and qualitative methods complemented with experience-based information and expert knowledge. The latter is one of the key contributors to evidence outlined in the European Commission’s publication Support Mechanisms for Evidence-based Policy-Making in Education.
Policy decision making is politically motivated and at times might seem to eschew sound evidence but the ETF’s work has consistently shown that inclusive progress can only be made using a holistic approach and data intelligence at all stages of the policy process.
Ukraine: data on the impact of Russian aggression on education and training
Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022, the ETF has been monitoring its impact on education and the labour market every week....
Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022, the ETF has been monitoring its impact on education and the labour market every week. These updates - a compilation of information, data and related analytics - are intended to provide an accurate and reliable picture of what is happening in the country. The ETF prides itself on being a source of precise insight and the extent to which its updates can be trusted depends entirely on one thing – the quality of the evidence.
Drawing on highly credible sources that include Ukrainian ministries, international organisations and research collaborations such as with the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), and the Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR), the analyses paint a devastating picture of a country where 14 million people have been displaced (half of them fleeing abroad), and where poverty rates look set to increase tenfold from 1.8% in 2021 to 18.5% in 2023.
Stylianos Karagiannis, Human Capital Development Statistician at the ETF, has the responsibility for compiling and publishing the weekly Ukraine updates. “Information on Ukraine is everywhere” he says, “but knowing which sources to use is key”. Stylianos explains that international bodies and agencies, such as the UNHCR, are the most reliable sources of information. “These are well-established organisations with proven expertise and methodologies in providing the most complete and accurate statistics possible, often in very challenging circumstances”.
And the Russian aggression against Ukraine is, indeed, a very challenging and constantly-moving situation. The Ukrainian authorities are a fundamental source of information, their proximity to events on the ground facilitating accurate and consistent information gathering resulting in highly reliable data. Chief among them, the Ukrainian authorities in collaboration with international organisations record the huge movement of people, both those internally displaced as well as those crossing Ukraine’s borders into neighbouring safe countries. The significant movement of a population, both internally and externally, brings about untold disruption. “Being forced to stop work and school, and having to flee your home, are very traumatic experiences. The longer it continues, the more devastating the long-term impact” (for a review see Akbulut-Yuksel, May 2022)
Designed to give the ETF’s audience of policymakers, teachers, researchers and other stakeholders interested in education and labour markets targeted information on the situation, the reports describe the enormous challenges currently confronting Ukraine, as well as the challenges it will face to rebuild its society and economy when the war finally ends.
The weekly analysis shows the extent of the damage to people, employment and education. As of 16 September 2022, seven months after the invasion started, there are 2,551 school buildings damaged or totally destroyed, and an additional 130 vocational education and training (VET) facilities damaged and destroyed. Of the remaining infrastructure, more than 4,000 facilities are now being used for purposes other than education, and 25% of Ukraine’s teachers are now involved in services and duties other than teaching. The extent of the damage and destruction is shocking but the real tragedy is the number of learners who, as a consequence of the global pandemic and now the war, are experiencing an incredible disruption to their education (for reference see Angrist, Djankov, Goldberg, Patrinos).
Reinstating the delivery of education in person was essential after the pandemic but the aggression has resulted in less than 30% of schools being able to reopen and therefore a continued reliance on online learning.
In addition, there is little doubt that the trauma and fear Ukrainian people are experiencing will have a tremendous effect on their physical and mental health, an effect that may last for life and have consequences for the future labour market. There are already a number of initial studies providing mounting and alarming evidence on the potential impact that the Russian invasion may have on human capital, as well as the negative physical and mental health outcomesof children who are exposed to war and large-scale destruction (See World Bank (May 2022). Education: Impact of the War in Ukraine. Ukraine Sectoral Briefs).
The Kyiv School of Economics, another trusted source of analysis included in the ETF's weekly roundup, is using the statistics on damage and destruction of infrastructure, industry and enterprise to estimate the financial impact on the country. “The estimated costs of damages to the educational sector are put at $4.4b and for industry and business services it’s $9.7b”, explains Karagiannis. “Set against the context of all sectors, the financial damage equates to $114.5b”. But the statistic that is spiraling the most is the estimated reconstruction and recovery costs. For the education sector, the costs are in the region of $5.4b, for industry and business services, the costs increase to $19.7b. Overall reconstruction and recovery estimates for the country are placed at a staggering $197.8b. “The longer the aggression continues, the more these estimates will increase” says Karagiannis.
Analysis of the labour market reveals the long-term impact on workers and employment opportunities. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) currently estimates employment losses for 2022 at 30%, but if hostilities escalate it expects them to rise to nearly 45%. The World Bank’s research corroborates this and anticipates an increase in the poverty rate, from 1.8% in 2021 to 18.5% in 2023 (see The Invasion in Ukraine in Numbers 23 Sep 2022_FINAL2.pdf)
The weekly update is important, but it is the look at what the future may hold which underscores the importance of evidence collection and analysis. “Analysis of current conflicts can help to draw conclusions for future policy advice” explains Karagiannis. “Understanding the financial impacts across all sectors informs the aid and reconstruction response needed from the international community”.
With so much information available and so many organisations reporting the information, why does the ETF feel it is important to produce its own weekly round-up? “Doing the hard work to cross-reference data and pull together these disparate sources of information means we can share our unique compilation with a targeted audience”. As the ETF is the European agency providing expertise on human capital, education and transition to labour markets in the regions surrounding Europe, this snapshot delivers trusted insights and can activate policymakers into making quick and effective decisions for the here and now – on current and future needs. Thinking longer-term, a weekly compilation of data and analytics focused on education and employment complements the ETF’s data intelligence gathering for policy analysis and progress monitoring that has been ongoing for over two decades. It can quickly feed into discussions and the identification of actions needed to help the country rebuild once the aggression has ended.
As the famous saying goes, knowledge is power.
Data and analyses collected by the ETF from various sources.
Visit the ETF website to see the weekly update, “The Invasion of Ukraine: The Impact in Numbers”
When Russia invaded Ukraine in February, Anna Osti knew she had to help. Like many Ukrainian ex-pats in the EU, she had this combined sense of, ...
When Russia invaded Ukraine in February, Anna Osti knew she had to help. Like many Ukrainian ex-pats in the EU, she had this combined sense of, on the one hand, premonition and on the other, disbelief that it was actually happening. Anna and her German husband had managed to get her parents out of the country just days before the invasion but all other family remained around Kyiv and Dnipro.
“I came to Germany 17 years ago, when I was 19, as an au-pair. I came for a year, met my future husband and never really looked back.”
“I felt at home here, but if my first time in Germany taught me anything, it was how much even a basic knowledge of the local language means for your chances to study and work. When I decided to stay here, I had to first convert my entry requirements for university and take an extra year in college before I could enrol at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. This all involved improving my German. In fact, I ended up choosing subjects that required the least of my language skills.”
Anna ended up studying business economics.
For refugees arriving from Ukraine, the basic premise was the same as it had been for her: many came with a mountain of knowledge and qualifications that were in demand in Germany but could not be put to good use because they did not speak the language.
For Anna, the arrival of the first refugees coincided with a need to review her career after she had become a mother. The start of the war literally came a few days before the end of her maternity leave.
“In Ukraine people mobilised for volunteering work immediately. It was no different for us here. We cried for a week, stuck to the news on our phones, and then realised that we had to do something – regardless of what, anything other than reading the news – both to help and to keep our sanity.”
“I had worked for several German companies in Munich, but now with small children, I did not want the long commuting times anymore, so when the first refugees arrived, I volunteered to work as an interpreter, mediating between the incoming Ukrainians and local host families.”
“Over time, I developed a network of people who called on me for assistance with all sorts of small issues. In fact, so much so, that it became untenable. These people had to learn German themselves.”
Anna called on the local Volkshochschule (adult education centre) in Landsberg am Lech to ask what they could do. The initial answer was a bit depressing: people could apply for basic German courses but at the moment there weren’t really any.
Even though she did not have any pedagogical qualifications, she then wondered if she could do it herself.
“I was teaching my parents German anyway. Why should I not teach ten people at the same time?”
The Volkshochschule was all ears. They would offer the facilities if she did the rest. And so she did.
Her first class of 16 filled in ten minutes. Everyone was eager to learn. She taught from the standard book for learning German as a foreign language, Schritte Plus.
When the Volkshochschule realised how big the demand was, they found three more teachers for intensive courses.
But Anna realised that even that was still was only a drop in the ocean and the demand was much bigger than they could ever satisfy. That’s when she started recording all her language instruction to YouTube.
“Young people learn at lightning speed when they are inundated, but the problem was middle-aged and older people. They never thought they would have to learn a new language again. There was much resistance but also recognition that it was needed. For these people, to receive the first instruction from someone who also spoke their first language helped so much!”
Anna started recording to YouTube in June and the first videos have already racked up around 2000 views. She also has a faithful group of subscribers, because her new uploads are watched immediately by almost a hundred people.
“Everyone wants to go back, even my mother – to a point where I sometimes don’t understand it. But, until that day comes, giving them the language tools they need to live here makes their lives so much more meaningful here and I know that some young people who have already returned to Ukraine have kept it up back home and are now continuing to learn German in Ukraine.”
That shows how the work of people like Anna Osti does more than just help refugees in Germany in the short term. Eventually it can also sow the first seeds of deeper links between Germany and Ukraine that may become quite crucial as the country must reorient alliances after forcefully having severed centuries-old traditional eastbound lines of cooperation.
The ETF Torino Process round six: 2022 to 2024
The Torino Process is a biennial review of vocational education and training systems within a lifelong learning perspective. It was established ...
The Torino Process is a biennial review of vocational education and training systems within a lifelong learning perspective. It was established by the European Training Foundation (ETF) in 2010 and has been carried out in partner countries in South Eastern Europe, Turkey, Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean since then.
The Torino Process is designed to describe and analyse developments and challenges in human capital development and the ways in which national vocational education and training systems address them.
Since its inception in 2010, the Torino Process has gathered a valuable repository of information and data, which is used for monitoring and policy planning purposes by national and regional governments, international partners and increasingly by researchers working in the field.
Key features of the Torino Process
The Torino Process has constantly adapted itself to changing needs, circumstances and country priorities. Every round has had its own specific focus and corresponding adaptations to its analytical framework and evidence collection, interpretation and presentation methodology.
The sixth round: Towards lifelong learning
The Torino Process 2022-24 looks at system performance and lifelong learning. A new analytical framework has been designed accordingly. The focus in on two levels:
Monitoring system performance of lifelong learning
to track the performance of education and training systems in terms of creating suitable and equitable opportunities for lifelong learning based on a carefully selected set of indicators; and
Reviewing policies for lifelong learning
to explain the results from level one and analyse relevant policies in order to put forward recommendations for improvement
LEVEL 1 includes a carefully selected set of indicators to track system performance in areas linked to lifelong learning.
LEVEL 2 covers a selection of thematic policy areas to support the interpretation of monitoring results and the identification of ways to
improve system performance in a lifelong learning perspective. It is designed to be highly participatory, and involves documenting and
interpreting the effectiveness of policies and systemic arrangements against the backdrop of:
1. Demand for learning opportunities; and,
2. Relevant socio-economic and demographic developments which may influence demand
Watch the video to see how the Torino Process has evolved until now
4 Facts Data
Collecting and analysing data can help policymakers to make informed and strategic decisions.
Take a look at this month’s 4 facts to see som...
Collecting and analysing data can help policymakers to make informed and strategic decisions.
Take a look at this month’s 4 facts to see some of the data trends happening in our partner countries and worldwide.
In 2021, Georgia had the world’s highest share of women working in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) fields, a significant 55.6%. North Macedonia ranked 6th with 50.7% and Serbia 7th with 47.8%
The Global Gender Gap Report 2021 shows that STEM attainment in Albania was 15.2% among women compared to 30.01% for men. Bosnia and Herzegovina performed somewhat better with 16.12% attainment for women and 28.43% for men
The ETF’s KIESE 2022 report monitors indicators on education, skills and employment. It reveals that the incidence of early leaving from education is decreasing in all partner countries, particularly in Albania, Moldova and Turkey
In Ukraine, due to the Russian aggression, 2,551 educational facilities (8.11% of total) are either damaged or destroyed, and a further 4,000 are being used for activities other than education (September 2022)
European Year of Skills, 2023
As announced by President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, during her State of the U...
European Year of Skills, 2023
As announced by President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, during her State of the Union address which took place 14 September 2022, 2023 will be the European Year of Skills. The year will be dedicated to highlighting the importance of skills for enhancing people's lives and transforming the economy. It will also provide an opportunity to highlight the ways in which the European Commission is supporting skills development both within the European Union and globally as part of the EU's international assistance within which the ETF operates.
The global pandemic has shown how the concept of education can change from one day to the next, and has forced educators around the world to find new ways to teach outside the physical classroom.
What are the lessons learnt from the global emergency?
What are the real costs of online teaching?
Has the level of investment for things like new devices, internet access and the time needed to switch to being online been worth it?
If a new global emergency were to happen tomorrow, would we be better prepared for it?
We discuss all these issues in episode number 20 of our podcast serieswith Merab Labadze, an expert from Georgia and Fabio Nascimbeni, expert from European Training Foundation.
ETF Innovative Learning and Teaching Award, 2022
In July 2022, the ETF opened a call for good practice in the area of innovative teaching and learning to identify teaching practice that supports new learning as an inspiration for teachers, trainers and policymakers in the EU neighbourhood and beyond.
We received around 800 applications from 50 countries all over the world.
An international jury has selected the 10 most innovative finalists which you can read about shortly on the ETF website.
We invite all our readers to vote for their favourite story before 21 November. The winners will be announced on 28 November at a conference on innovative teaching and learning at the ETF in Turin, Italy.
GLAD Conference: the Civil Society Organisations and Human Capital Development in the Context of Lifelong Learning
On 18 October, an ETF hybrid conference will focus on Civil Society Organisations role (CSOs) in lifelong learning and related policy processes at country and international level. The event is open to the contributions of CSOs from ETF partner countries and EU-wide networks, governmental representatives and EU institutions. More information can be found on the ETF's Open Space.