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November 2012

ISSUE // 25


We need a more widespread entrepreneurial culture

Antonio Tajani, Vice-President of the European Commission and Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship INSIDE THIS ISSUE 06 Skills policies after the Arab Spring 10 Country focus: Armenia 16 Kyrgyzstan: School-to-work transition 18 Regional dimension of qualifications


Azerbaijan: Investing in human gold


Creating a go-ahead generation


New figures put rural Kyrgyzstan back on the map



Skills development after the Arab Spring


Building qualifications that matter in a globalised world

We’d love to know what you think. You can comment on any of our articles online at



What measures for better youth employment in the Mediterranean?


Country Focus: Armenia


ETF digital update

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Yearbook 2012: Focus on policy making

To receive a copy of Live&Learn please email The European Training Foundation is the European Union’s centre of expertise supporting vocational and training reforms in the context of the European Union’s external relations programmes.

Cover photograph: European Commission Please recycle this magazine when you finish with it. 02


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All conferences have a watershed moment, a highlight that changes the focus of the discussion. One such moment came at the recent ETF regional conference in Jordan, when Mahmoud El-Sherbiny, the new executive director of Egypt’s Industrial Training Council, took the floor. Speaking from the heart, he admitted 60 years of failure in implementing policies in education and training before last year’s revolution. His analysis listed many reasons for the lack of results, but looking for a future solution and change, his message was crystal clear: Respect for people! Policy makers and public managers must understand that people add value and without respecting people, nothing will be achieved. The Arab Spring showed that young people in the region were eager to see changes in their societies. They want now to drive the political transformation towards democracy and to be involved in shaping their future. So far, not much has happened, and many among Arab youth feel that they are not enjoying all the rights and opportunities they are entitled to. The frustrations are obvious. If young people do not contribute meaningfully to formulating the public policies that impact their present and future lives, policy makers are likely to implement agendas that do not adequately address their real concerns. Policy makers and public management must include young people to tackle social

inequalities, unemployment and the lack of democracy. The ETF conference in Jordan took a major step in this direction by nominating a group of young people, Young Mediterranean Leaders (YML), from seven Arab countries to act as ‘ambassadors’ between the young Arab generation and policy leaders in the countries. Let the voice of young people be heard by policy makers Some 60% of the population in the region is under 30 so it is crucial that policies take into account their views. For the ETF, the YML initiative ensures that the voices of young people can be heard by policy makers in education and training. Over time the initiative will be extended to other areas, in which young people can become protagonists in the development of the region, for example in entrepreneurship.

Bent Sørensen, Head of Communication, ETF Photo: ETF

The participation of the Young Mediterranean Leaders in the ETF conference revealed a sense of optimism and willingness to work hard to achieve the goals, and the initiative also turns the words of Mahmoud El-Sherbiny into action: Respect for young people! ■

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Cover  Interview

CREATING A GO-AHEAD GENERATION Antonio Tajani is Vice-President of the European Commission and Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship. In an interview with Live&Learn he shares his views on the EU’s efforts to promote entrepreneurship at home and abroad. What role does entrepreneurship play in the European economy? Some 99% of Europe’s businesses are small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Over 85% of all new jobs in Europe are created by SMEs. So entrepreneurs are crucial, especially in times of crisis. But, as shown by a recent Eurobarometer survey, while 51% of Americans or 68% of Chinese would like to become their own bosses, in the EU only 37% of people would like to be self-employed. We must create a more favourable climate for young people to consider entrepreneurship as a career option. This is one of the objectives of the Small Business Act for Europe, which fosters an entrepreneurial culture and business-friendly environment. SMEs as a motor of economic recovery are also at the centre of the Europe 2020 strategy, which is the EU’s main strategic document.




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Commissioner Tajani: “A good business environment is not enough. What takes place in people’s heads is crucial”.

Entrepreneurial learning and promoting skills for SMEs is an important area for the ETF. Some people say that you can’t really teach entrepreneurship. What would you say to them? You need a favourable environment for entrepreneurs to flourish – easy access to finance, less administrative burdens. But environment is not enough. What takes place in people’s heads is crucial. And this is where entrepreneurial learning comes in. If you are innovative, if you take initiative, if you don’t shirk from taking risks, and if you know how to communicate with people, then you are entrepreneurial. The good news is you can learn these skills and develop such attitudes. And they are as useful for business people as they are for employees. Research shows that young people who have an entrepreneurial experience during their education are not only more likely to eventually start

their own business, but if they choose to seek some other type of work, they are employed faster too. According to a recent study, 78% of young people who followed an entrepreneurship course at university found their first job directly after graduation, against 59% of a control group. In short, entrepreneurial learning can benefit our societies in many ways.


“We must cooperate with our neighbours and understand them better”. Photos: European Commission

What about entrepreneurship in the EU’s neighbouring countries? What can or should the EU do? Obviously my foremost obligation is towards entrepreneurs in the EU – to encourage more EU citizens to join their ranks and to make sure they have good conditions to work, create jobs, and prosper. But it also includes internationalisation and our presence in global markets. Here competition is not everything. We must cooperate with our neighbours and understand them better by sharing our experiences, by learning from each other, and by building a mutually familiar entrepreneurial environment, which is good business both for the EU and for our neighbours. The EU does this in the Mediterranean region by implementing the EuroMediterranean Charter for Enterprise. In the enlargement region, the Western Balkan countries and Turkey are committed to implementing the Small Business Act for Europe, which includes chapters on entrepreneurial learning and SME skills. I am aware

of and appreciate the ETF’s support in these initiatives. They are crucial especially in the regions that need millions of jobs to absorb very young populations. The ETF will host a major conference in November that will present the best ways to train entrepreneurs in the EU and in the neighbouring countries. I’m glad that that one of the ETF’s two main events in 2012 has been devoted to entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial learning. To instil entrepreneurial skills and values in younger generations is not an easy task. I am sure that exchanging practice between the EU and its neighbours can help us find the best ways to move forwards. I therefore wish you a very good conference. Millions of new innovative and creative enterprises would rejuvenate Europe’s economic basis. The same applies to our neighbours. We all want to make our part of the world more robust, more job-generating and more resilient to stormy economic times. ■ Words: Marcin Monko, ETF


FIND OUT MORE: Commissioner Antonio Tajani Official website: http://ec.europa. eu/commission_2010-2014/tajani/ index_en.htm Twitter: AntonioTajaniEU

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Event Report


How to improve opportunities for young people in the Arab states is one of the region’s burning issues in the wake of the Arab Spring. Looking for answers to this thorny question, and in particular, looking at how the region’s education and training systems can better equip people for the world of work, was what brought 180 people to Jordan for an ETF conference on 25-27 September.

Seven young women and seven young men from the Arab countries joined the new ETF programme Young Mediterranean Leaders. Photos: ETF/Juha Roininen – EUP & Images

The conference New challenges for skills development in the Arab states of the southern and eastern Mediterranean was really several events rolled into one, all of them related to the central question of youth employability. It brought nine ministers of education and labour together for an informal discussion among equals on what they are doing to meet the challenges of the Arab Spring. It also heralded the launch of the Young Mediterranean Leaders initiative, an ETF



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programme to help develop the potential of the region’s leaders of tomorrow. Philippe Brunet, head of cabinet for European Commissioner Vassiliou, welcomed the initiative. “In this region we are witnessing momentous events that directly affect, involve and are sometimes driven by young people,” he said, “we need to pave the way for the involvement of young people by strengthening civil society and actively involving them in politics as young politicians, voters or simply as active citizens.”

2012 TORINO PROCESS: FIRST RESULTS Last but not least, the conference was the chance for representatives of eight Arab countries to present the first results of the second round of the Torino Process. This is a participatory review of progress in VET policy carried out by all ETF partner countries every two years. In the case of the Arab countries, the timing could not be better; comparing

Mahmoud El-Sherbiny, executive director of Egypt’s Industrial Training Council: “We need to change the way we do things… by showing respect for ordinary people”.

The ETF regional conference brought some 180 people to Jordan, including nine Arab ministers.

the findings of the 2010 round with those of 2012 gives a useful snapshot of the impact of the Arab Spring so far on policy making in VET. One obvious finding is that, unlike the political landscape in some countries, conditions on the ground have not changed overnight. “We are facing the same challenges as in 2010, but there is much more pressure to address them than before,” said Elena Carrero Perez, the ETF’s Torino Process coordinator for the region. What she does see as different is the stronger emphasis on VET as a way of improving youth employability.

“…OUR MISSION IS TO CHOOSE LEADERS WHO KNOW HOW TO TREAT PEOPLE WITH RESPECT.” Some countries are aiming to expand their systems; Libya is aiming for its technical and vocational education system to account for 50% of the total intake by 2025, up from 24% for the intermediate level and 19% for the higher level in 2011. Others are trying to make the system more attractive. Lebanon has passed a decree shortening VET qualifications and establishing new pathways to other parts of the education system. It will offer 2,000 scholarships for VET and is planning a national campaign to boost public awareness of its potential. “We need to reinvent VET by re-establishing public confidence in the system,” said Hassan Diab, Lebanese Minister of Education and Higher Education.

There is also more understanding of the social role of VET, seeing it as a way for the individual to satisfy his or her ambitions. In the new Moroccan constitution, unveiled in June 2011 and widely seen as the regime’s response to the country’s 20 February protest movement, VET is defined as a right for all citizens. The governance of VET remains highly centralised in the region, but there is some awareness of the need for a more inclusive approach. Mahmoud El-Sherbiny, executive director of Egypt’s Industrial Training Council, outlined his government’s plans to reactivate existing VET governance bodies such as the Supreme Council for Human Development by adopting a new style of leadership. “After the revolution, we need to ... change the way we do things and the simple answer is by showing respect for ordinary people. Without this, nothing can be achieved,” he said, “those institutions were already there but were not working properly so our mission is to choose leaders who know how to treat people with respect.” Moves are afoot in both Egypt and Morocco to give social partners more genuine involvement in VET, while Tunisia is experimenting with promoting stronger links between schools and local businesses. This is to be done by encouraging employers to sit on school boards, setting up regional working groups to encourage such links and making this work an explicit part of head teachers’ job description as well as reducing their administrative duties to make this possible. “This will be a key point for evaluating the performance of school principals,” said Hamza Elfil, director general of the Tunisian Agency for VET, “this requirement existed before on paper but in reality it wasn’t possible.”

POLITICIANS ARE UNDER MUCH MORE PRESSURE TO DELIVER Making sure that ideas which exist on paper become more than just that was perhaps the most important theme of this conference. In the aftermath of the Arab Spring, there is a growing awareness that young people in the region need to see positive improvements in their daily lives. Politicians are under much more pressure to deliver these than before. This means that governments and other stakeholders must find ways of turning top-level strategies for reforming VET into ways of delivering better life prospects for ordinary citizens. “In Egypt we have a lot of statistics about employment but few accomplishments. In all of the Arab countries we are good at the thinking part and not so good at the doing part,” said El-Sherbiny, “we shouldn’t wait to have the perfect blueprint, it’s about making small incremental changes and then you change things as you are making them”. ■ Words: Rebecca Warden, ICE

November 2012



Policy Analysis


The UfM Employability Review includes concrete policy recommendations on how to tackle the challenge of youth unemployment. Photo: ETF/Ard Jongsma



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The Union for the Mediterranean Regional Employability Review, published by the ETF in September 2012, not only gives a comprehensive overview of the employment situation in fourteen countries of the Mediterranean region. It also includes recommendations on what needs to be done to improve the life chances of the young generations in the region.

Unemployment rates by age group, 2010

IN THE LABOUR MARKET 1. Adapt active labour market policies (ALMPs) to local or regional situations. 2. Improve labour market monitoring systems to identify current and future skill needs and shape adequate education and training programmes. 3. Make labour markets more transparent and information on job offers more accessible to facilitate merit-based and competitive recruitment mechanisms as an alternative to social contacts. 4. Improve the public employment services infrastructure, budget, staffing and capacity to design and implement labour market policies at national and local levels. 5. Introduce incentives to transform informal employment. 6. Reflect the prioritisation of employment and job creation in the institutional setup of policy making, coordination of resources and institutions, and other policy fields. 7. Develop and implement comprehensive national employment

strategies with the active involvement of social partners. 8. Design and target ALMPs to more vulnerable people and evaluate the impact. 9. Balance employment policy measures between graduate unemployed, working youth, and young people not in employment, education or training.

13. Develop appropriate career guidance and counselling systems for all levels and types of education. 14. Increase enrolment and quality in post-compulsory education as the key factor of youth employability and their future engagement in lifelong learning. 15. Increase the size, quality and attractiveness of VET.

10. Enhance legal migration and mobility dialogue in the Euro-Mediterranean area, and links with national policies in the home countries.

16. Establish a flexible, transparent and better-organised VET sector, with links between initial and continuing training and pathways between different vocational and general education options.


17. Extend and enhance entrepreneurship and self-employment support programmes. â–

11. Introduce widespread national literacy programmes to eradicate illiteracy, particularly to improve the literacy of younger age groups and promote functional literacy. 12. Diversify the offer of VET, including non-formal and adult training courses, for school dropouts in the informal sector and young people not in employment, education or training.

Words: Marcin Monko, ETF

FIND OUT MORE: More detailed recommendations and analysis on the ETF website:

November 2012



Country Focus  Armenia


SIMPLIFIED ENTRANCE PROCEDURES BOOST VET TAKE-UP The ETF is one of the key partners in the sphere of VET, says Armenia’s education minister Armen Ashotyan Photo: Wikicommons

Education minister Armen Ashotyan is drafting a new law on vocational and professional education as more students enter the system. At a stroke Armenia has boosted the number of school leavers opting for vocational education and training by abolishing college entrance exams. The move has already led to an increase in student enrolment in the school year 2012/13. Students now only need to show their school leaving results. The change is part of a series of reforms education minister Armen Ashotyan is steering through parliament as he seeks to improve the labour market relevance of tertiary education in Armenia. Ashotyan’s task is no small thing. This landlocked country of 3.2 million people is still struggling to modernise 20 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union and deal with the conflict with neighbouring Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh. A youth unemployment rate of nearly 40% (National Statistical Service Armenia) contributes to high levels of migration as skilled and unskilled workers leave to find employment in Russia, Ukraine and Europe.



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THE QUALITY OF EDUCATION NEEDS TO IMPROVE Ashotyan, 37, a graduate of Yerevan State Medical Institute and also of Moscow’s School of Political Sciences who has been in office since May 2009, appreciates the scale of the job he has taken on. “The quality of education at all stages is in need of more improvement,” he told Live&Learn, “we’ve achieved a lot but much remains to be done to build up the education system according to the best European standards.” He sees three key ways to achieve this aim – by introducing a new law on vocational education, by encouraging closer links between VET schools and employers and by working more closely with international institutions, such as the ETF. “Stronger cooperation with international organisations is one of the key aspects of reform and progress

in Armenian vocational education and training,” he says. The Torino Process – the ETF’s review of VET policies, reforms and institutions – is important in helping Armenia become part of the ‘big European family’. “It helps to be monitored and checked by independent experts; our new law on VET is being drafted according to the latest developments in European VET,” says Ashotyan. In the early 1990s as many as a million people left the country. Today, tens of thousands of Armenians – mostly men – still spend much of the year outside the country, many working in low status manual jobs in Russia. A new study by the ETF (see the article on migration in Armenia in this issue) conducted together with the Caucasus Research Resource Centre aims to produce a better understanding of a phenomenon that has a major impact on Armenia’s labour market and education system.

Migration is not without its upside. The Central Bank of Armenia says money sent home contributed as much as 1.24 billion US dollars to the country’s economy in 2011. And the permanent Armenian diaspora – an ancient phenomenon in a country at the crossroads of Europe and Asia that has experienced centuries of war and conquest – is largely well educated and well established in Europe and America. “The Armenian diaspora is close to its motherland,” Ashotyan says, adding that “several VET institutions have been supported by the diaspora.”

THE GOAL: BETTER MATCHING OF TRAINING CONTENT TO LABOUR MARKET This is an encouraging sign but one which is unlikely to be a major feature

of a system of 91 VET colleges, many of which are currently being merged in a reorganisation launched in 2011. Key targets for the shake-up include better matching of course content to labour market demands and improving contacts and partnerships between VET schools and employers. There are signs of improvement in education and business partnerships in important areas including agriculture, computing sciences, banking and finance, and construction. More and closer work with international organisations is a theme the education minister returns to again and again. “The ETF is one of the key partners in the sphere of VET; we have done a lot of work together over the past few years with meetings in Brussels and Yerevan,” he says. Ashotyan would like to see a more ‘country needs approach’ in the future as, despite improvements in recent years, Armenia’s education system remains in need of continuing

support through capacity building programmes and technical assistance. A new National Training Fund is one of the local institutions through which future assistance could be channelled. The Fund is expected to promote a market for continuing VET on the basis of the needs of employers. It is building closer links with social partners and emphasising the role lifelong learning can play in Armenia. “Armenia’s education system dates back 1,400 years to the creation of our alphabet and in the medieval period we had three big universities comparable with European universities of the time,” Ashotyan says, “today Armenian people value education highly.” ■ Words: Nick Holdsworth, ICE

LONG EXPERIENCE GIVES ETF COUNTRY MANAGER FOR ARMENIA BREADTH OF VISION Milena Corradini brings more than 30 years’ service in vocational education to the job.

Before she joined the ETF, Milena Corradini had worked in Mozambique and Zimbabwe on Italian government-financed technical aid programmes. Photo: Marcin Monko, ETF

When Milena Corradini took over as country manager for Armenia in 2007, she had had plenty of preparation. A member of staff at the ETF since 1995, Corradini had already clocked up years of experience in helping promote and develop vocational skills among people in some challenging environments. Her experience included eight years’ field work in Africa, working in Mozambique and Zimbabwe on Italian governmentfinanced technical aid programmes. At the ETF her senior positions, as country manager for Romania, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the Republic of Moldova, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Bosnia and Herzegovina, reflect the versatility she brings to a job that is as much about people skills as technical and professional know-how. When she took over as country manager for Armenia in 2007 she already had a good grasp of the sensitivities of a region

that had been riven by ethnic strife and conflict for the previous two decades. “When I started in Armenia it was after almost five years of working experience in Turkey,” Corradini recalls. “Because of the sensitiveness of relations between the countries, I’ve always avoided making any reference to that in Armenia.”

On a more positive note, Corradini says she has noted clear progress in Armenian education reform during her tenure, particularly in vocational education and training. “I love going into a country with ideas and seeing those implemented, seeing the results from changing people’s mentality, the opening of minds,” she says. ■ Words: Nick Holdsworth, ICE

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Country Focus  Armenia

ARMENIAN MIGRANTS HELP INFORM POLICY PROPOSALS ETF survey of migration in Caucasian countries finds common causes and differing patterns.

Leaving home to work abroad for often lengthy periods of time is a fact of life for many in Armenia and other countries in the Caucasus. Economic dislocation, political turmoil and conflict over the past two decades have all fuelled a culture of working in other countries. In Armenia, where more than a third of the prime working age population of 18-50 year-olds are likely to work abroad at some point in their lives, migration is overwhelmingly an economic necessity. “There is very little correlation between finding employment and having an education in Armenia; the level of education matters little,” says Heghine Manasyan, Yerevan-based country manager for the Caucasus Research Resource Centre (CRRC).

ACCURATE INFORMATION CAN HELP INFORM POLICY MAKING A new study conducted by the ETF in association with CRRC hopes to throw more light on what policy makers

The new study on migration is based on interviews with 4,000 people.



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can do to improve the experience of migrant workers. The study, Skills dimension of migration: ETF survey in Armenia and Georgia, is one of several migration surveys the ETF has carried out in Albania, the Republic of Moldova, Tunisia and elsewhere.

“…ENABLE CIRCULAR MIGRATION THAT CREATES A ‘WIN-WIN-WIN’ SITUATION FOR THE MIGRANTS, THE SENDING COUNTRIES AND THE RECEIVING COUNTRIES.” Accurate information can help inform policy making, particularly in EU priority areas such as bilateral agreements, social protection for migrants and skills development for returnees. “The main aim now is to foster or enable circular migration that creates a ‘win-win-win’ situation for the migrants, the sending countries and the receiving countries,” Manasyan observes. Better working conditions for migrants – such as minimum wages, health and safety regulations – can help improve

In Armenia migration is an overwhelming economic necessity. Photos: Marcin Monko, ETF

their economic status in receiving countries, adding to the value of remittances they send home and the skills they can contribute on returning home. In a good year, Armenian migrant workers may send back an amount equal to the entire national budget in remittances. Every second household in Armenia relies upon the money for daily needs.


The new study – due to be discussed in mid October at a conference in Yerevan – is based on interviews with 4,000 people, divided between those intending to migrate and those who have returned after working abroad for at least three months.

A striking finding of the report was that returning migrants were barely aware of a range of government programmes designed to help reintegrate them into the domestic labour force. Although the programmes are not widespread, it suggests they are not being well targeted or advertised. With employment rates of just 40% in Armenia and under 30% in Georgia for returnees, the low visibility of such programmes suggests both countries need to do more to publicise what help is available.

Economic necessity was the common cause of migration in both countries, although Georgians tended to head towards Europe and the USA while the ease of getting a visa continues to make Russia the top destination for Armenians – more than 60% of potential migrants and 80% of returnees.

Arne Baumann, the ETF’s migration and skills project coordinator for Armenia, observes that since October 2011, a Joint Mobility Partnership is in force between Armenia, the EU and several EU member states. “The surveys enable us to focus actions on those areas where they are most needed, for example pre-departure training of migrants or improving the use

of returned migrants’ qualifications in the Armenian economy,” he says. But why should EU citizens care? Because the EU is and will remain a potential destination for migrants replies Baumann. “Migrants, whether permanent or temporary, are and will be integral and needed parts of the economies and societies of the EU. Improving our understanding of this is necessary not only for policy makers but can also help to reduce the anxieties and reservations of EU citizens.” ■ Words: Nick Holdsworth, ICE

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AZERBAIJAN Oil has been a mixed blessing to Azerbaijan, an economy that remained in the shadows of the Soviet Union for decades. It has fuelled high growth rates and a construction boom but brought little in the way of direct employment. But oil reserves are diminishing – so diversifying the economy is a priority for the government which is promoting tourism, construction, IT and electronics as well as modernising agriculture and food production. The key to the success of this strategy are the improvements in specialist education and training. Although there has been investment in individuals – about 5,000 Azeris study abroad every

As oil reserves in the Caspian Sea are diminishing, diversifying the economy is a priority for the government. Photo: Pkabz – Flickr Creative Commons



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year on state scholarships – new efforts are required to invest in structures in Azerbaijan itself. To this end, the ETF has been working with the Azerbaijan Ministry of Education to revamp the country’s vocational education and training system in line with the country’s ambition to transfer its wealth “from black gold to human gold.”

A VET strategy from 2007 to 2012 led to the restructuring of part of the school network, the establishment of two new vocational centres in tourism and the introduction of new curricula developed with the support of Unesco and EUfunded projects. Other changes include a national qualifications framework (NQF), improved teacher training and legislative reform. The ETF also cooperates with EU

INVESTING IN HUMAN GOLD For the first time, we are seeing schools with more applicants than places, says Namig Mammadov, head of the technical and vocational department at the Azeri Ministry of Education. Photo: ETF/Juha Roininen - EUP & Images

funded schemes such as the twinning project on VET in agriculture. This has brought expertise from Germany in school administration and teaching materials and involved creating stronger links with businesses and employers. “These links are important,” says Ruediger Heining, resident twinning adviser, citing a survey of farmers which found that they were looking for a much wider group of skills in employees than the highly specialised ones being taught at vocational schools. The schools were still geared to the needs of Soviet-style collective farms and their hundreds of workers rather than today’s small enterprises. The low status of many vocational schools is a problem Another problem was the low status of many vocational schools. Namig Mammadov, head of the technical and vocational department at the Azeri Ministry of Education, remembers that as a student himself, his father warned that “if I didn’t work harder at getting good grades, he would send me to a vocational school. They did not have a good reputation.” However, the new vocational centres are proving popular as centres of excellence and as models attracting even university graduates, says Mammadov. ”For the first time, we are seeing schools with more applicants than places,” he says. A new strategy for training will take Azerbaijan up to 2021, setting out priorities for diversification and translating them to the VET sector, he adds. “We are in a period of policy formulation,” says Arjen Deij, the ETF’s country manager for Azerbaijan, “working on quality assurance, measuring of outcomes and governance.” Azerbaijan has adopted the Torino Process and this

year conducted its own self-assessment of VET which was self-funded. The process with its emphasis on a participatory evidence-based approach and the NQF with its emphasis on more relevant learning outcomes are welcome signs of change.

Another challenge is the tension between greater transparency – with national exams and national standards policed centrally – and the need to promote an active role of local VET providers to build stronger links with local authorities and businesses.

“There are still major challenges,” says Deij. “There is a need for more input from stakeholders such as businesses and students themselves.” He adds that although investment in education is below EU averages, the availability of money is less of an issue than the capacity of institutions to deliver extensive reforms. The VET section of the Ministry of Education has only four specialist staff, and is supported by a rather small centre at the Institute of Education Problems.

“The change processes that have started will take considerable time,” says Deij. The ETF is in a unique position as a partner of the Ministry of Education, national stakeholders and the European Union to support these long-term incremental processes through a dialogue with all parties, in which we can really work together towards lasting systemic changes. ■ Words: Patrick Kelly, ICE

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Project Highlight

NEW FIGURES PUT RURAL KYRGYZSTAN BACK ON THE MAP ETF study shows how poor job prospects in the countryside are driving migration For the first time ever, there are real figures to back up evidence on the often troublesome reality for school leavers in Kyrgyzstan -- evidence that has until now been largely anecdotal. The comprehensive picture that emerges from the ETF study on the transition from school to work can become a cornerstone for future policy development in the Central Asian country. For graduates in Kyrgyzstan, the transition from school to work is often much more

difficult than for many young Europeans. A slow economy keeps university graduates underemployed and VET students in predominantly informal jobs. Much of this was assumed but never convincingly backed up by the current and reliable data that are needed to formulate targeted policies for reform. To collect the data, labour market specialist Arne Baumann and statistical officer Eva Jansova adapted a methodology that the

ETF has successfully applied in other countries since 2007. The ETF contracted a local company to carry out a survey involving 2,100 people aged between 15 and 29 who had left education during the last six years. The study yielded some surprises. The one that struck Arne Baumann most is the extent to which young Kyrgyz in rural areas are neither formally nor informally employed. “Almost 37% are simply involved in family work,” he said.

“VET education in rural areas should actively stimulate entrepreneurial and other relevant skills”, says ETF expert. Photos: Marcin Monko, ETF 16


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Sewing class at a VET school in Osh, Kyrgyzstan. The transition from school to work is often much more difficult than for young Europeans.

Deficit of rural jobs causes internal and external migration

students are those that are most satisfied with what they have learned.

This figure is particularly striking when you take into account that Kyrgyzstan is mainly rural; less than one-third of the population live in the country’s 10 towns of over 30,000 inhabitants.

Only 1.4% of young people found work through an employment agency

“The lack of jobs in rural areas has a knock-on effect on internal and external migration; the vast majority of migrants have their roots in the countryside,” said Baumann. The extent of informality in the labour market also surprised him. “We knew it existed and we expected it to be considerable, but not this high. The few existing registered jobs are taken up by university graduates. The majority of VET graduates are employed informally,” he said. Higher education is still more likely to result in employment than any other form of education and higher education

Career guidance, on the other hand, leaves much to be desired. While it was considered important by most respondents, only about 17% of the total benefited from any kind of career guidance. In the job market, intermediary services play no bigger role. On the contrary: almost 70% of jobs are found informally through friends and relatives. A mere 3.1% of young people find their jobs through advertisements while an even lower 1.4% found work through an official organisation, such as an employment agency. The results of the research are so hot off the press that the debate on follow-up activities is only just beginning. There appears to be a strong argument for moving the focus of VET reforms away from urban schools, in part because of the continuing migration from rural areas.

“VET education in rural areas should actively stimulate entrepreneurial and other relevant skills,” said Baumann. “This way, Kyrgyzstan could kill two birds with one stone; it could support the development of the local economy and, through that, tackle one of the key reasons for continuing migration.” ETF country manager Christine Hemschemeier leads the work on sharing the results of the study with stakeholders in the country. “The Ministry of Education and the VET Agency are interested,” said Hemschemeier, “we will use the data for workshops with them and with the parliament, whose education committee has also followed our work closely. Their influence on policy has increased considerably since the reforms following the political turmoil of 2010, and they will be important partners for us in the years ahead.” ■ Words: Ard Jongsma, ICE

November 2012



Project Highlight

BUILDING QUALIFICATIONS THAT MATTER IN A GLOBALISED WORLD Half an hour’s drive from Jordan’s capital Amman, near the town of Salt, a hospital is being built. A hundred-odd workers lay bricks, do plastering, prepare electric wiring. Most of them are not Jordanians. The project produced common occupational profiles – bricklayer, receptionist, construction site supervisor and waiter. It’s a first step to clear, internationally understandable qualifications across the Mediterranean. Photos: Marcin Monko, ETF

Mohammad Ghabashneh, an engineer and head of the construction site says it is quite typical.

more attractive training opportunities, and ultimately can draw Jordanians to the building sector.

“Usually people in Jordan don’t like the hard work in the construction sector and we leave these professions to foreign workers, like Egyptians.”


Ghabashneh is also a member of a project that is aiming to develop a regional approach to qualifications across the Mediterranean. The project, sponsored by the ETF, involves a range of organisations from France, Italy, Spain, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia. “We can improve our occupational profiles according to what we learn from different countries,” says Ghabashneh. According to him better qualifications can lead to



November 2012

But it won’t change the fact that thousands of workers and businesses will operate on ever more globalised markets. “The economies of the Mediterranean are more and more integrated,” says Pasqualino Mare, the ETF expert on qualifications who leads the project. “Builders from Egypt work in Jordan, Moroccans study in France, French companies invest in Tunisia. Transparent

qualifications make both work and investing easier in the global economy.” In Amsterdam on 8-10 October, delegates from employers’ organisations, trade unions and government agencies met to review the results of the project in which Ghabashneh has had his part. The concrete aim of their work is to equip the participating countries with effective tools to make qualifications more transparent, comparable and understandable, and where possible, enable their convergence. What drives the ETF project is the participants’ shared view that transparent qualifications are an effective way of helping workers, students and business to benefit from economic integration and mobility. So far they have agreed and drafted common occupational profiles in two key sectors. A joint document, using the methodology of the European

Qualifications Framework, describes in detail the knowledge, skills and competences needed to perform the job of a bricklayer, receptionist, construction site supervisor and waiter. It’s a first step to clear, internationally understandable qualifications. It is also a possible basis for qualifications frameworks based on learning outcomes and the reform of training curricula.


can also help better target training for migrant workers in France. “Another, equally important, result of the project is the fact that we have managed to involve people from seven countries and several more organisations to work together on the regional dimension of qualifications,” says Mare. “There is also a will to carry on and build on the current results.” The meeting in Amsterdam will help set the project’s objectives until 2017. ■ Words: Marcin Monko, ETF

Marek Lawinski, a capacity building expert from the French National Committee for the Coordination of Apprenticeship in the Construction Sector, said that beside the potential benefits for the French companies that are active across the Mediterranean which need to be assured of qualifications of local staff, the project

Mohammad Ghabashneh, member of the ETF project on qualifications, works as head of the construction site in Salt, Jordan.

November 2012



ETF DIGITAL U ON THE WEBSITE  Excellence in entrepreneurship and enterprise skills The notion of ‘good practice’ in entrepreneurship and enterprise skills will be the focus of an upcoming conference where the ETF and its partner countries celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week. The event will take place in Brussels on 14-16 November 2012.

Photo: Marcin Monko, ETF

EU foreign ministers discuss education

Education was one of three main themes at the informal meeting of EU Ministers of Foreign Affairs in Cyprus on 7 and 8 September, next to the situation in Syria and water issues. The ministers discussed education as a critical issue in conflict-affected countries and those undergoing political transition. Photo: Cyprus EU Presidency

 Value-chain analysis: an innovative project starts in Montenegro In 2012, the ETF started a value-chain analysis in the dairy sector in Montenegro. The objective of the study is to understand why quality dairy products from the north can’t reach domestic market and tourism regions in the south.

Photo: Flickr Creative Commons

In Moscow, on career guidance and counselling

The ETF held an international workshop on career guidance and counselling at the delegation of the European Union in Moscow on 11 October. The Duma of the Russian Federation is expected to approve the new law on education at the end of 2012. The law will emphasise VET also as an opportunity for the older workers. Photo: ETF



November 2012

L UPDATE SOCIAL MEDIA The ETF has been using social media systematically since 2009. We communicate through different channels: print publications, face-to-face meetings and conferences, and our website. Social media help us amplify these communications.

Motion pictures tell a thousand words

Facebook, Twitter, Youtube – each give us different opportunities to reach diverse publics. All of them help us establish and sustain relationships, listen to our audiences, and present us as an approachable and human organisation.

The entry barrier to multimedia is at its lowest ever, and we try to take advantage of it. We often host interesting speakers from around the world and through YouTube we can easily and quickly bring their voice to a wider audience. Check:

 Sharing news and  publications, curating relevant content With over 2,300 fans and their million friends, Facebook is an important channel for the ETF to distribute news and to receive feedback on our work. We share things that we believe are valuable to our fans. So ‘like’ us:

Bringing people to events and events to people

Twitter helps us provide short, quick updates, and we use it to cover institutional conferences by transmitting key messages to the people who could not attend in person. We encourage those present at the events to tweet and contribute to the coverage. Follow us: @etfeuropa

 Fostering networks and creating communities Using IBM Connections, we have established several online communities of experts, such as on qualifications, education and social inclusion. This tool helps us pool knowledge and encourage debate on issues important to the ETF. You can join these communities by sending a request: e.g. for the Qualifications Platform or for the Social Inclusion Platform.

November 2012



YEARBOOK 2012 FOCUS ON POLICY MAKING The demand for methods and instruments that enable VET experts to analyse and evaluate education and training systems is high. They have to recognise strengths and weaknesses as well as identify possible areas for development and to monitor improvement in the education and training systems.

The aim of the 2012 ETF Yearbook is to collect such approaches, methods and instruments, and to provide an opportunity for mutual exchange of experience and an in-depth discussion with the partner countries.

MORE AND MORE INTEREST IN WHAT EDUCATION CAN DELIVER Policy makers are increasingly interested in what education can deliver and hence, in what education research can tell us about it. “The need for such information is even more acute in countries in transition, where donor-financed VET reforms have radically changed systems,” writes Madlen Serban, ETF director in the preface to the publication.



November 2012

“Given the scarce resources for education reform, the importance it holds for national policy makers and the diversity of opinions and approaches within the technical assistance community, the ability to assess what works in VET is critical. As a result, policy analysis and policy research are increasingly prioritised.” The yearbook places the focus on the ETF’s Torino Process and assesses the overall approach, the methodology and main findings of the exercise carried out in 2010. It collects articles written by ETF experts and guest writers from the EU and the ETF partner countries. Words: Marcin Monko, ETF


Coming up



Photo: Flickr Creative Commons

Photo: Marcin Monko, ETF

Towards Excellence in Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Skills is the title of an international conference the ETF will hold in Brussels on 14-16 November 2012. The event will bring together several training providers from the EU and the partner countries to share and discuss good practice in entrepreneurial learning and the promotion of skills for small and medium-sized enterprises. We’ll talk to education professionals and entrepreneurs from across Europe, northern Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia.

In Kiev, in cooperation with the Council for CIS Ministers of Education and Unesco, the ETF is organising a conference to raise policy makers’ awareness of the relevance of VET for sustainable development. The event builds on a preparatory study on the subject that the ETF carried out in 2011. We’ll report from the conference on the policy recommendations to reinforce sustainable development in VET curricula and delivery, which the organisers hope to adopt.


Bosnia and Herzegovina was recognised as a potential candidate country for EU accession in 2003 and signed a Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) in 2008, agreeing to the EU’s conditions for membership. Live&Learn will focus on the country, explore its unique decentralised administration and traditionally large share of VET in education. We’ll talk to key players, and present what the ETF has recently been doing in the country.


The Torino Process is a periodic analysis of vocational education and training policies in ETF partner countries. In 2012 a new round of the process has been carried out with reviews, selfassessments, country and regional conference to share the results. We’ll report on the initial outcomes of 2012 reviews.

November 2012



For information on our activities, job and tendering possibilities please visit our website: For other enquiries please contact: Communication Department European Training Foundation Villa Gualino Viale Settimio Severo, 65 I – 10133 Torino T +39 011 630 2222 F +39 011 630 2200 E



Live&Learn Issue 25  
Live&Learn Issue 25  

Live&Learn is a quarterly magazine published by the European Training Foundation (ETF)