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Fostering a lifelong learning perspective through education reform

Since 1995 we have been supporting Moldova to develop education and training to boost employability, increase access to opportunity and promote social cohesion. Complementing the work of the EU’s External Action Service, we bring together ministries and social partners to develop scalable projects.

The ETF is enabling policy change in Moldova by providing recognised and reliable EU/International expertise. We analyse the evidence of progress in vocational education and training reform and advise key stakeholders on how the implementation of concept and strategic plans can become more effective. Our main areas of intervention are designing a National Qualifications Framework and innovative provision of vocational education and training. We are also engaged in measuring skills mismatch and contributing to general capacity building.

Political context and priorities

Moldova faces challenges across almost all sectors. Political stability via structural reforms is a key priority as in 2015 the country was affected by political, economic and financial turmoil due to government instability and large scale fraud in the financial sector. Three national banks collapsed with a cost of 12% of GDP. Strengthening the quality of institutions, infrastructure, health, education and training means focusing on education, labour market and social assistance reform. Rationalisation of ministries, government agencies and institutions has also been carried out, reducing the Ministries to nine.

Socio-economic situation

Inactivity and a lack of decent work as well as low productivity and persistent informal arrangements create a complex and challenging socio-economic context. To combat this, the government adopted The National Development Strategy “Moldova 2020” in 2012 to strive for long-term sustainable and stable growth. The Mobility Partnership agreement was signed with the EU in 2008 and is an essential part of the context in which ETF operates. It set out to manage the country’s heavy outward migration flow, resulting in a progressively more migrant-centred policy development and more effective cooperation with a range of EU Member States.

Education and labour policies

The Strategy for the Development of Technical Vocational Education for 2013-20 defines Moldova’s vision for reforms in vocational education and training from a lifelong learning perspective. By 2020 it will be more relevant, of better quality, affordable, career orientated and flexible. It will allow recognition of diplomas and validation of non-formal and informal learning to foster mobility in Europe. Under the Education Code, vocational qualifications will be awarded based on the national qualifications framework of Moldova. The merging of ministries - the Ministry of Labour was merged with the Ministry of Health, becoming Ministry of Labour, Social Protection and Health – will streamline and align public services.

EU support and the ETF

The Association Agreement between the EU and Moldova was ratified in November 2014. This includes the gradual implementation of a deep and comprehensive Free Trade Area. Moldova is committed to this process, which provides a policy roadmap for the country’s economic development over the longer term. The EU has supported the implementation of the vocational education and training strategy for the country with a sector reform contract and budget support programme ( 25 million euro for 2014-2017) and a technical assistance project for vocational education and training (3.7 million euro for 2014-2017).

As an Agency of the EU, we bring our expertise to this agenda:

  • Creating of synergy between different activities and the new ministerial structures
  • Supporting EU projects with thematic expertise upon request; National Qualification Framework, Sector Skills Councils, Skills anticipation and mismatch, innovation of vocational educational and training provision.
  • Providing institutional capacity building and peer learning opportunities.