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DARYA – Evidence on skills

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The EU’s first programme for Central Asia exclusively focused on vocational education and training and skills development, DARYA, promotes opportunities and better employment prospects for young people across five countries in the region.

The five-year project, launched in 2022, is being implemented by the European Training Foundation through three distinct themes designed to take forward reforms and projects to help foster skills demanded by the market – including green, digital and entrepreneurial competences.

The three strands that make up DARYA (Dialogue and Action for Resourceful Youth in Central Asia) focus on developing future-focused skills, designing new and flexible qualifications that may be used across the region, and more flexible and inclusive teaching and learning.

Module 1 seeks to use better evidence and analysis and monitoring of education and training outcomes to design forward-looking skills development that will equip young people in Central Asia with more marketable and flexible skills.

This module – which like the others in each of the five countries (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan) participating in the project, will employ a range of approaches to improving evidence and analysis in skills provision.

Awareness raising and peer learning within vocational education and training (VET) and labour market systems across the region will examine data-gathering instruments including those focused on labour market demand:

  • Graduate tracer studies
  • Employer surveys
  • Sectoral studies
  • Skills forecasting
  • Use of big data for labour market intelligence

Peer-learning will also focus on how information on skills demand can be used to feed into training and employment policies and measures, in particular for career guidance and labour market transition.

Piloting will be used to design and test new instruments in skills forecasting, that can provide evidence on how well VET is meeting labour market needs and skills matching. There will also be cross-country, pan-regional research on common future skills needs, followed by peer-learning partnerships.

Wider collection of evidence may include studies on school to work transition, and the extent to which new forms of work – such as platform working – are being adopted, or are applicable, in Central Asia

Module 1, in common with the other themes, will provide different opportunities for engagement among participants – from the region as well as international stakeholders from the EU and its neighbouring countries.

Familiarisation of topics will be followed by capacity building in the use of specific tools or methods. The piloting within countries and across the region will also help cascade the approach across a wider group of actors in the skills and training ecosystem.

By bringing together providers of education and training with labour market organisations, ministries and regional authorities, as well as other stakeholders, ownership and long-term support for new approaches can be achieved.

In a region where young people aged under 30 make up between 40% and 65% of the population, evidence-based policies to address their needs is essential.

Module 1 is the foundation for the better adaptation of skills training to the needs of those, in particular from disadvantaged groups.