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DARYA - Teaching and learning

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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 funded by the EU and 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 3 aims to introduce and develop key competences demanded by modern labour market – ‘21st century skills’ such as critical thinking, problem solving, team work, communication and computational thinking, digital, green and entrepreneurial skills for teachers and learners.

Designed to encourage a vocational education and training (VET) system-wide reform in approaches to teaching and learning, Module 3 will:

  • Offer familiarisation with and adaptation of EU key competences frameworks in digital, entrepreneurship and life skills
  • Develop and implement continuous professional development schemes to support teachers to ensure they are ready to support key competences, including project and problem-based collaborative and authentic learning
  • Adapt monitoring and development tools, including the ETF’s own SELFIE tool for monitoring digital, green and entrepreneurial approaches to learning
  • Adapt and develop teaching materials to ensure all VET institutions have access to material to support the new approach
  • Develop networks and communities to share experience and new teaching methods
  • Increase opportunities for work-based learning, and gender-sensitive career guidance

Through supporting long-term staff development, Module 3 will also support wider VET system reform and the capacity of centres and schools to research, plan and implement professional development as regional economies and labour markets develop and mature. By focusing on supporting national and regional centres of excellence, the approach to competence-focused learning will be embedded in the skills and training systems deployed in Central Asia.

Initial teacher-training will also be upgraded to include the approach to key competences, including more digital and online learning, new teacher responsibilities and new occupational skills.

By encouraging the engagement of regional stakeholders and EU institutions in the new approach, all sides can benefit from the learning process inherent in introducing such approaches to competence-based learning.

In a region where, as the DARYA action plan identifies, “learning provision lacks flexibility and inclusiveness and is not yet fully based on learning outcomes, nor labour market relevant,” a competence-based approach to teaching and learning is essential for future economic development.

And where, “the COVID crisis has highlighted massive shortcomings in the area of digital preparedness of VET providers and their teaching staff,” the Module 3 approach comes not a moment too soon.

DARYA aims to ensure the success of this complex project by involving as many stakeholders at the national, regional and international level. By working in alignment with national priorities and through agile, distributed leadership – in VET schools, government institutions and international partners – it aims to shift the opportunities for young men and women, particularly those in disadvantaged groups, decisively forward.