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DARYA – Qualifications

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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 aptitudes.

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 2 concentrates on qualifications. It aims to engage with stakeholders from across the region, and from the EU and development partners, to support “flexible and permeable approaches to qualifications at the national and regional level in order to allow equal opportunities for all in Central Asia.”

Although the economies of the countries across the region – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan – all suffered during the Covid pandemic, over the coming years there are likely to be “significant opportunities for modernising infrastructure and economic diversification through better integration and connectivity within the region and with its neighbours,” DARYA project planners say.

The need for more flexible and permeable approaches to qualifications is underlined by studies carried out in the region. Existing qualifications are not always aligned to current market conditions, and teachers in vocational institutions often lack up-to-date training and familiarity with current economic demands. This limits opportunities for learners with different needs, and is exacerbated by an “insufficient involvement of skills development stakeholders” in qualifications reform.

Upgrading the way qualifications respond to and interact with the labour market will be a key approach to improving opportunities for young men and women to gain decent employment.

Module 2 will cover familiarisation, peer-learning and capacity building activities in the following core areas linked to the development and reform of national qualifications systems:

  • Quality assurance and enhancing trust in qualifications
  • Mechanisms for developing standards and curricula in line with the needs of the labour market and society
  • Validation of non-formal and informal learning (that taking place outside the formal education system)
  • Improving stakeholder engagement in qualifications design, assessment and certification
  • Supporting the implementation of sectoral approaches to the design, assessment and certification of qualifications
  • Digitalisation to improve the accessibility of information on qualifications and to support interoperability at the national and regional level

To support the development of a strong regionally-connected economy, joint multi-country/regional qualifications will be developed and piloted for selected priority sectors. There will also be piloting of validation of non-formal and informal learning in selected sectors.

Globalisation brings economic integration, and the migration of jobs, workforces and learners within regions and around the world. As economies become more globalised, countries become increasingly aware of the need to internationalise and integrate their qualifications systems, to improve transparency, recognition and trust in their qualifications. Trust in the quality of qualifications is essential in order to support the mobility of learners and workers within and across sectoral and geographical borders.

In DARYA Module 2, stakeholders from Central Asia will look at scenarios for different levels of integrating their skills and qualifications.