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April 2011

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Stability through cooperation and partnership Jerzy Buzek, President of the European Parliament INSIDE THIS ISSUE The sixty million job question Country Focus: occupied Palestinian territory Social force multipliers Central Asia: From stability to recover through training 24 Iceland: Education and democracy 08 12 20 22

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Country Focus: Occupied Palestinaian Territory


Stability through cooperation and partnership


Communicating for the future of Uzbekistan COMMENT ON OUR BLOG


Striving for quality, not similarity


Social force multipliers

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



The sixty million job question


Job market not working for women in Egypt, Jordan and Tunisia


Modern schools for modern skills


Central Asia: from stability to recovery though training


Equity in education – fairer access benefits society, new ETF study finds


Iceland: Education and democracy

Further information can be found on the ETF website: For any additional information, please contact: ETF Communication Department European Training Foundation ADDRESS Villa Gualino, Viale Settimio Severo 65, I – 10133 Torino, Italy TELEPHONE +39 011 630 2222 FAX +39 011 630 2200 EMAIL

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 Parliament

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ETF operations: a new set up

Henrik Faudel, head of the Geographical Operations department

Peter Greenwood, head of the new Evidence Based Policy Making department

Anastasia Fetsi, head of the new Thematic Expertise Development department

In 2011, the ETF has reorganised its structure to enable it to work more efficiently in all 30 partner countries and to ensure that its work is based on evidence and is coherent across all countries and regions.

The ETF has always used evidence in its work. ‘Evidence-based policy making is a long-term priority for the ETF and above all for our work in the partner countries’, says Peter Greenwood, head of the ETF’s new Evidence Based Policy Making Department.

A new department with cross-cutting responsibilities, the thematic expertise department, will work to ensure that the ETF develops state-of-art expertise and is able to provide coherent and relevant advice in the countries surrounding the EU.

The Torino Process, a comprehensive review of the situation in vocational education and training in the countries surrounding the EU, is one of more prominent examples of how evidence can be used to make better policies.

Anastasia Fetsi, the head of the new Thematic Expertise Development department, says ‘In the new department we want to take a closer look at key areas of ETF expertise, such as lifelong learning, entrepreneurship and sustainable development and vocational education, and reflect on how we work in these fields, what we achieved, and what needs to be done to provide coherent and relevant expertise in our partner countries.’ ■

Henrik Faudel is the new head of the Geographical Operations department, the largest part of ETF operations, which implements activities in ETF partner countries. The new department has 44 experts and support staff, and is divided into three regional units: Western Balkans and Turkey, southern Mediterranean, and Eastern Europe and Central Asia. The other two departments will take a cross-cutting approach. Peter Greenwood will head the Evidence Based Policy Making department and Anastasia Fetsi will be in charge of the Thematic Expertise Development department.

What is the evidence? How it can be used? What are the correct steps in the policy making process? How can institutional networks be used to produce good policies based on facts? These are the issues in the spotlight and the new department will help to provide practical answers both for the ETF and for the partner countries.

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Stability through cooperation Jerzy Buzek, president of the European Parliament

On the eve of the Polish presidency of the European Union, Live&Learn spoke to Jerzy Buzek, President of the European Parliament about Poland’s position in the EU, as well as about his views on education.

The EU has an obligation to help its neighbours according to Buzek Photo: European Parliament

Mr President, you are a statesman, but also a scientist and a man of education. What in your opinion is the role of education in today’s world? There are some obvious benefits of good education. On a personal level, education gives access to better jobs and better lives. It makes people proud of their occupations and it makes them better 04


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prepared for the hard times like nowadays, during the crisis. Education is also about self-realisation, and more intangible pleasures like knowledge and skills. It is also about human dignity: people who are well-educated can be active, more in-control of their lives and their environments.

There is also the macro level. Europe wants better educated citizens because that will ensure our competitiveness in a globalised world. Finally, there is the political dimension. An educated person is socially and politically engaged, is better integrated into communities, and has a stake in society and in the democratic system.

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cooperation and partnership Nowadays what determines the power in global politics is, to a large extent, the soft power, cultural attractiveness and information which set the international agenda, define values, and create strategic opportunities. What is the soft power of the EU? An area of peace, freedom and relative prosperity: this is Europe’s attractiveness. We got here through hard work and good economic and social policies. Some of these tested policies, solutions and experiences the ETF shares with our partners in the neighbouring countries.

be it to the south or east. The common denominator in our actions is promoting the values of human rights, democracy and freedom, as well as a particular type of social model, free trade, and aid to the less developed countries in the world. I know that in the nineties the ETF paid special attention to and worked hard with the Polish government to reform the education system. It is just a small example of the importance of engagement and partnership that, combined with other activities, were very successful. I am glad that the Parliament’s Committee on Employment and Social Affairs oversees and supports the ETF’s work.

“An area of peace, freedom and relative prosperity: this is Europe’s attractiveness” Of course to be a global player we need to do more than this, but EU work in the area of education and training, as well as international development, can have very positive spill-over effects into the core of the EU’s external policy. International cooperation makes the EU practical and concrete to our partners. It reaches out to the citizens of these countries and enhances our political and cultural attractiveness, and ultimately increases our understanding of different contexts. Also, cooperation in education can open many doors, which are normally closed to regular diplomats and politicians. This has a special importance now when the EU External Action Service is taking on the key role of implementing EU external policy. Mr President, you were a witness and a key mover in Poland’s remarkable regaining of independence, its economic recovery and European integration. Poland earned it all with its determination, but also with encouragement and help from its friends. Do you think today Poland and the rest of the EU have a similar obligation toward their neighbours to the east and south? We absolutely have an obligation to engage and, if need be, to help our neighbours,

Can this solidarity and engagement bring concrete benefits to European citizens? Of course we have different obligations in different regions of the world, as different countries define their political paths in different ways. I said in my speeches that the EU will ‘promote our values in this globalised world, values of solidarity inside and outside the EU’. And we already do it. The EU is the world’s biggest donor of international development aid. We help deal with problems, find peaceful solutions, benefit from education and create jobs. But this is not charity. This is cooperation and partnership. Of course we often help solve problems on a humanitarian basis. But through cooperation we also create an area of stability around the EU, which is of mutual benefit. It extends to trade, to better managing trans-border social problems or environmental issues. And from these interactions with our neighbours we learn ourselves. So, one could say paraphrasing the maxim: solidarity is the best policy.

“But this is not charity. This is cooperation and partnership”

Buzek sees the EU as an aid to finding peaceful solutions to global problems Photo: European Parliament

You are Polish and in the second half of 2011 Poland will hold the EU presidency. We know that the Eastern neighbourhood is high on Poland’s agenda. For the ETF it is one of the most important regions of operations. What are your expectations? For us Europeans, the east of our continent still remains crucial. If Europe wishes to speak with one voice to our eastern partners, it has to learn to look also at the east through the eyes of its historic neighbours. Through the eyes of the countries who recently joined the Union. Only then will our openness have real value, as well as reminding of democracy and human rights. Remember that we cannot isolate ourselves with new walls from our immediate Eastern neighbours. Here the very active and concrete engagement of the ETF, with its established long term relationships and knowledge of the contexts, is a huge asset. ■ Words: Marcin Monko, ETF

Further information Jerzy Buzek biography

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Striving for quality, not similarity Ever since it was founded in the mid-1990s, equity in education has been one of the core concerns of the European Training Foundation. In December 2010, in the context of the European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion, the ETF took this message to Brussels. Literally. The last five years have seen ETF rhetoric shift from combating social exclusion to promoting social inclusion. The difference between the two may seem trivial but it is anything but. Avoiding social exclusion is not the same as embracing social inclusion. It is a message that the ETF has been spreading across the partner countries via several international conferences in recent years. In 2010 its social inclusion agenda gained added currency when the European Commission made last year the European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion. The ETF concluded the Year with a major conference at the European

Parliament in Brussels in December where it employed radically different ways of getting the word out. As highlights of the meeting were twittered live onto the web, a pool of examples of how social media can be used to reach out to vulnerable groups was exhibited in parallel sessions, not as curiosities but as a stark reminder that the world is changing so rapidly that policies designed for today are bound to be outdated tomorrow and that new ways of communicating are no longer underground phenomena but indicators of a general trend.

Break-out of poverty At the meeting, Jan Truszczyński, Director General for Education and Culture at the European Commission, introduced the key theme of the conference from a European perspective, noting that even within the EU, some 17% of EU citizens - 80 million people - do not have enough money to buy even basic goods. “But can people break out of poverty and social exclusion through education and training?” he asked. “While we have to be ambitious, we also have to be realistic. Our measures will not work immediately and may not work everywhere.” “Also, education is not the only solution to social exclusion,” he added, “action must be coordinated across sectors. Success must be achieved at micro-level: in schools, families, neighbourhoods and among teachers.”

“Education is not the only solution to social exclusion” Involvement of families and neighbourhoods is an issue that has come up in many recent meetings. Much can be achieved by involving the entire community but, as Shemsi Shainov of the Roma Education Fund argued, we must remember to do more than just enrol people. “We make huge efforts to get vulnerable kids into schools but we neglect them once they are in,” he said. Social media

Albana Dhimitri wants to see a new way of looking at communties Photo: ETF/EUP Images



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New ways of addressing communities must also be found, which is why social media were such an important feature of the conference. They are an excellent way of addressing young people in particular. In fact, Albana Dhimitri, Deputy Mayor of Tirana, argued that new ways of defining communities may even be needed.

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Further information Promoting social inclusion blog

New ways of communicating can help promote social inclusion Photo: ETF/EUP Images

“One of our city’s programmes on youth empowerment addresses youth not only as a specific age group, but also as a specific community,” she said. Returning to Truszczyński’s poverty figures, Ilda Figueiredo, vice-chair of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs in the European Parliament, expressed dissatisfaction that the original aim of “eradicating poverty” set by the Lisbon targets, which has not been achieved, has been diluted to “a reduction by 20 million” in the Europe 2020 strategy. “Only full eradication of poverty is good enough as a target for the European Union,” she said.

have no secondary education and one million of them did not even finish primary education. Less than one-third of young people have a university degree, against 40% in the US,” he added. Bigger equalities, bigger problems So, should we take the US as an example? Clearly not, argued Richard Wilkinson and Kate Picket who delivered the strongest argument in favour of making a clear distinction between eradicating social exclusion and embracing social inclusion.

These are related, with a striking accuracy, to income differences, and not to GDP as such.” “The intuition that inequality is socially corrosive appears to be true,” Wilkinson concluded drily. Wilkinson and Pickett are no doomsayers however. They have extended their research into the realm of solutions, concluding that there are different roads towards greater equality.

“all the major problems in society get bigger as inequalities get bigger”

Also László Andor, the European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, chose to take the angle of critical self-reflection, noting that the EU is not just a common market but also a defender of social values.

Richard Wilkinson said that that their extensive research had shown that all the major problems in society get bigger as inequalities get bigger.

“Although poverty statistics in the EU are lower than in most surrounding countries, there is no need to be proud,” he said. “A quarter of 15-year-olds cannot read properly, six million people aged 18-25

“In terms of the benefits of economic growth, we seem to have reached the end of the road,” he said. “Despite being rich, we experience decreasing mental health and an increase in a number of problems.

“Sweden has used a redistribution of wealth through tax, while Japan has smaller differences before tax,” Wilkinson said. “The important thing is that it does not seem to matter at all how more equality is achieved. The results are the same; all parties including the rich benefit from more equality.” Which brings us back to the theme of the conference and its aims, which ETF director Madlen Serban so accurately summed up when she said: “We desire equality but we should not interpret equality as similarity. Quite the contrary: we are here to celebrate diversity.”

Social inclusion is a celebration of diversity, according to ETF Director Madlen Serban (right)

“We believe that discussing social inclusion is discussing diversity. We are here to try to disrupt the patterns of marginalisation. This audience, with policy makers, industry representatives, education experts and indeed parents, represents the entire range of institutions that can solve problems in this field. Let’s do it!” ■

Photo: ETF/EUP Images

Words: Ard Jongsma, ICE April 2011

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Southern Mediterranean

The sixty million job question

60 000 000. This is the number of jobs Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, the occupied Palestinian territory, Syria, and Tunisia - the countries of the EU southern Neighbourhood - will have to create in the next 15 years. Failing to do that will have serious consequences. When experts try to answer what the main causes of recent developments are - and what they will bring in future demography, education and employment are key. Politics aside, one thing stands out: millions upon millions of young people, many of them highly educated, can’t find a proper place for themselves in these societies. The European Training Foundation (ETF) has worked with governments as well as with civil society and academia in the region for the past eleven years. It promoted policy measures that aimed to improve labour markets and make vocational education and training more responsive to social and labour market needs.

Good governance ‘Good governance, inclusiveness, accountability, open dialogue don’t only concern “big” politics,’ said Eva Jimeno Sicilia. ‘These issues permeate the whole system, including education and the labour market.’ Jimeno coordinates ETF operations in the countries of the southern Neighbourhood. Education, training and employment, the domains of ETF expertise, provide many clues as to what drives social developments in the region, and what could possibly improve the situation in the future. ‘Education became a means of keeping young people off the streets, without really giving them useful skills for work,’ Between 2.5 and 5 million jobs need to be created in the region Photo: ETF/Basel El Maqousi



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said Jimeno. ‘You went to school, because there was no job for you. But it didn’t solve the problem. More years in school don’t increase your employability, unless the education is relevant and of good quality.’ An ETF review of vocational education and training in Egypt, which will be published in 2011, draws attention to the limited relevance of education and training to the labour market. Vocational education and training, at secondary and post-secondary level, continues to produce an excess of graduates in disciplines with scant demand in the labour market, while the formal private sector complains about the impossibility of finding employees with the skills needed to ensure economic growth. Job creation: public sector not an option anymore ‘Until recently many young people expected to find jobs and make careers in the public sector, and many were ready to wait for this opportunity,’ said Jimeno. ‘The public sector was the main

FACTS AND FIGURES The scale of the problems In 2009, there were 192.4 million people living in Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, the occupied Palestinian territory, Syria, and Tunisia. If forecasts prove right, by 2020 there will be 40 million more, made up primarily of young people - a third of the region’s population is under 15 years of age - with up to 60 million young people joining the workforce by the middle of the next decade. Today, youth unemployment ranges from 17.6% in Morocco to 43.4% in Algeria. The economies in the region will need to create between 2.5 million and 5 million jobs a year to absorb new entrants to the labour market and reduce unemployment.

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Many educated young people cannot find workl

The right skills are needed for the right jobs in the region

Photos: ETF/Aqueil Salih

ETF response As part of a wider package of EU assistance in the region and subject to agreement by partner countries, the ETF will focus on employment, with special attention paid to youth employment. It will also support measures to improve matching supply and demand in the labour markets and increasing the employability of the workforce. In Tunisia, the ETF will try to improve skills matching methodologies - both identification of skills needs and anticipation. The ETF will also follow up an earlier project that dealt with the quality of human resources in tourism. In Egypt, the priority will be to support the EU in the design of two interventions in the fields of education and TVET. This will be an overall support to the sector. The ETF is working closely with the EU delegation in the country to prepare this project. In both countries, activities the ETF is to propose will focus on:  Skills development for small and medium-sized enterprises, especially in tourism and construction (if possible associated with microfinance schemes for small business);  Local development with a particular focus on sustainable development (e.g. skills for sustainable tourism, clean energy);  Institutional building e.g. teacher and trainer development, VET providers management and quality assurance.

career possibility, especially for women. Some young people went to the private sector, where salaries were higher. But to get a job there you needed to “know someone�.’ The situation became more difficult recently when the global economic crisis forced the public sector to downsize considerably. The private sector however didn’t make up for these cuts. The economies of the southern Neighbourhood, even when they grew, didn’t create many new jobs. The informal sector provided more employment, but these were usually not what we would call decent jobs in terms of pay and conditions. ‘There was an important change of mentality’

‘And then, today’s young people, who are more connected to their peers in other countries, probably have different job expectations,’ said Jimeno. ‘The public sector is often not good enough for a generation that is ready to take on initiatives, risks and challenges. Even though I don’t have any hard evidence, I feel there was an important change of mentality.’ But is it much different in the EU? Young people everywhere have problems in moving smoothly from school to work. ‘Indeed there is now 40% unemployment among young people in Spain and this is a major social problem, says Jimeno. ‘But this has not undermined Spain’s political system. The political systems include institutions and processes that allow social grievances to be vented in a structured way as soon as they

arise. You have trade unions, political parties, tripartite processes, freedom of expression, etc.’ ‘And then there is the problem of scale: large young populations,’ adds Jimeno. Whatever form the governments take in the end, the authorities will have to introduce social and economic reforms to accommodate the needs of their people, especially the young generation. Governments need to support small and medium-sized enterprises that have a potential for growth. They must also try to gradually integrate the informal sector with the rest of the economy. Finally, they have to make the education and training system produce the right skills for jobs. Involving social partners in policymaking, giving schools more autonomy and resources, making schools and institutions more accountable to the public - these are the measures that characterise responsive, inclusive governance and good policy. VET potential: providing practical skills for millions, supporting civic participation Vocational education and training can play an important role in providing practical skills for millions of jobseekers as well as in supporting active participation of individuals in society. To do it, however, it needs more efficient investment, closer ties with business and trade unions to improve quality and relevance, and a better image to attract young people. ‘These will be major reforms and they won’t be easy,’ says Jimeno. ‘But perhaps now they will be taken up more vigorously. The ETF is ready to help with its expertise and experience.’ ■Words: Marcin Monko, ETF

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Jobs for women outside teaching and nursing have an image problem according to Outi Kärkkäinen Photo: ETF/A. Ramella

Job market not working for women in Egypt, Jordan and Tunisia

The better educated you are, the better are your chances of being employed. So says the theory. But in the case of women in Egypt, Jordan and Tunisia, this simple equation does not necessarily hold true as a new study by the European Training Foundation reveals. Women and work: access, limitations and potential in tourism and ICT looks at women’s employment opportunities in two key private sector service industries in these three countries. “The aim is to promote gender equality policies in the southern and eastern Mediterranean region in education, training and employment,” says project coordinator Outi Kärkkäinen of the ETF. While in the three countries studied, the gender gap in education has been reduced and, in the case of Tunisia, even reversed, women still struggle to translate their progress in education into tangible benefits on the labour market. The study finds that women are heavily under-

represented in both sectors in all three countries especially in tourism. It also finds evidence of marked job segregation with women tending to be clustered in certain functions and departments such as room service, administration, finance and sales and marketing. These gendered patterns of employment are changing only very slowly if at all. Qualifications do make a difference to a woman’s prospects. Education has a stronger effect on women’s labour market activity rates in the region than men’s. “It is higher education that really boosts women’s participation in the labour market” says Kärkkäinen. However, women’s unemployment rates are always

There is a lack of female candidates for middle ranking positions Photo: ETF/Salah Malkawi



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higher than men’s no matter what and, while unemployment rates for both sexes are higher the higher the education level, this is even more true for women. Women seem to be doubly penalised by the lack of relevance of the education system and discrimination based on gender in the labour market.

“Qualifications do make a difference to a woman’s prospects” “Employers report a lack of female candidates for middle-ranking skilled positions,” says Kärkkäinen. Whether this is because women do not choose this kind of training or because women or their families do not want them to take up these kinds of positions even if they have the right training is not clear. Nevertheless, the study does highlight the existence of widespread prejudice against women working in certain jobs such as bar or restaurant work in hotels or working with hardware in the ICT industry, something which is likely to have a bearing. Employers did see some advantages in employing women such as a better image for the company or women’s perceived superior skills in customer relations. However many were put off by what they saw as the higher cost of employing them. Ironically these extra costs are often caused by the very labour legislation that

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“Extra costs are often caused by the very labour legislation that was intended to protect female workers” was intended to protect female workers. Employers felt that the authorities had introduced demands such as the need to provide transport, childcare or cover maternity leave for female employees but then left the private sector alone to bear the costs. Thus one of the major recommendations of the report is for governments to share the financial burden. “We are not saying that governments shouldn’t have laws to protect women, but there has to be more financial support which will enable

employers to respect this legislation,” says Kärkkäinen. If governments want to get a return on their investment on women’s education, reconciliation policies helping to balance work and family life are necessary. Tax incentives could also encourage companies to recruit more women and give them more on-the-job training. The need for career guidance to challenge the stereotypes that guide young women’s choices is another key recommendation. Here the findings of

the report have already found fertile ground. With support from the ETF, Jordan is preparing to launch a new project on career guidance with a special focus on gender. “There is a big problem in terms of the image of VET and of women working outside the traditionally acceptable jobs of teaching and nursing,” says Karkkainen. The study and the new project will be discussed in a seminar on T-VET careers in Amman in late March. ■ Words: Rebecca Warden, ICE

The stereotypes that guide young women’s career choices must be challenged Photo: ETF/Salah Malkawi

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Country Focus  Occupied Palestinaian territory

Palestinians labour to better training

Efforts are focusing on improving social partnerships Photo: ETF/A. Jongsma

The occupied Palestinian territory is working hard at a timely revitalisation of their unpopular vocational education and training sector. A large part of its income is generated by small businesses, many in crafts, engineering and agriculture. In theory, the resulting employment pattern should mean a central position for vocational training, but a strong primary education sector breeds a desire for graduate studies among its huge cohorts of youngsters, outdated equipment threatens the relevance of training, settlement security measures can make even neighbourhood schools hard to reach and employment is more often based on family links than on merit. The occupied Palestinian territory faces many challenges. Many are shared with countries the world over and result from the demands of a new economic paradigm and the globalisation of trade and industry. But in this part of the world there are other barriers, some all too tangible, that add tremendously to the problems. But there’s much good news to report. The authorities are keen to revitalise education and training and to promote it, also among groups that are often ignored in this region, such as girls and minority groups.

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The occupied Palestinian Territory has a small economy and, although 11.5% of GDP is spent on education, that does not automatically make it world class. After all, almost half of the country’s population are under 14. Ziad Jweiles, director general for technical and vocational education and a strong partner in the work of the ETF in the country, sums them up: “The first is the occupation. The limitations on mobility, infrastructure and our ability to pool resources present huge logistical problems that make it hard to be cost-effective in a country our size.” Yet, it would be too easy to simply blame the occupation for everything.

Some of the problems that burden the system are remarkably similar to those experienced elsewhere in the world and the Palestinians are aware of this. “Technical and vocational education and training suffer from a poor image,” says Jweiles. “The sector is considered a social safety net for those who cannot make it elsewhere, and a poor one at that! It is seen as a last resort and as such unpopular.” “But most importantly, it lacks relevance. There are hardly any links between supply and demand.” Setting a good example While it is hard for the education and labour authorities to do much about

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Salah Al-Zaroo and Ziad Jweiles with ETF country manager Mariavittoria Garlappi Photo: ETF/A. Ramella

the occupying forces, improving social partnership is something they can promote and it is precisely here that they are focusing their efforts. The education authorities are setting a good example themselves by reinvigorating their own cooperation with the Ministry of Labour. Salah Al-Zaroo is the deputy assistant for international cooperation in this ministry. During 2010 he has supported the work on what he calls “institutionalising social partnership”. “We have collaborated with the Ministry of Education since 1996, when we formulated our first strategy for TVET,” says Al-Zaroo. “We established a Higher Council for VET in 2000, but despite all the good work on developing multipurpose training centres and a host of pilot initiatives, we never managed to tackle some of the underlying problems: the ones that Jweiles mentioned, but also the lack of input from the private sector, the inability to organise employers to speak with one voice and the need to break their family and clan oriented organisation.”

The latter is an increasing problem in an economy that calls for entrepreneurship and new skills that cannot simply be handed down. Palestinian vocational training needs to become more innovative and accessible and it must improve in quality and relevance. A number of donors already provide support in pursuing these aims. The European Union, for example, is about to launch a new TVET support programme for improved employability. The ETF has been involved in the preparations.

of education and training, including more exotic but crucial issues such as governance, career guidance, entrepreneurship and social inclusion, as well as the broader role of education and training in the development of a Palestinian state. One of the results of the new strategy has been the establishment earlier this year of a long anticipated Social Economic Council.

“Palestinian vocational training needs to become more innovative and accessible” Social Economic Council In 2010, a new strategy was developed to breathe new life into the system of vocational education and training. The strategy has now been adopted by both ministries and covers all areas

According to Al-Zaroo, the council will take the lead in addressing some of the weaknesses of the VET system. Its work will be closely related to the planned work of the ETF in the country, as detailed in the last issue of Live and Learn and in other articles in the country profile in this issue. “The council will investigate the relationship between partners in education and work so as to promote economic development. One of its key mandates will be technical and vocational education and training. It will have an advisory role, linking education and training and the labour market.”

The new council will link education and training to the labour market Photo: ETF/A. Jongsmai

It will likely become a key partner in some of the current ETF activities, such as the development of a costing system for improved governance and more effective and transparent management of resources as well as a project to develop a quality assurance system to boost the relevance of TVET outputs to the needs of the labour market. ■ Words: Ard Jongsma, ICE

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05/04/2011 16:45:11

Country Focus  Occupied Palestinaian territory

Entrepreneurial learning at heart of Palestinian education reform When Professor Daoud Zatari, President of the Palestinian Technical University of Kadoorie, first considered giving a leading role to entrepreneurial learning in the occupied Palestinian territory, he took a radical step that many would have shied away from; he began by analysing his own university. Finding that entrepreneurship was not explicitly referred to in its mission statement, he sought approval from the prime minister, ministers, governors and faculty heads to change it. “Now that national and university policy is in line,” he says, “it is much easier to define the way forward.” Aware that entrepreneurial learning was an entirely new concept in the education of Palestinians, Zatari sought advice from a Jordanian consultant. This enabled the university to introduce a bespoke four-month course on entrepreneurial learning, which all faculties now offer to all graduate and post graduate students. “Everybody from the director to the students is excited about this development because they can see the opportunity to turn the university into a centre of excellence,” he says. But why is entrepreneurial learning so important? One reason is that Palestinian higher education graduates have traditionally looked to the government to provide jobs but this is no longer sustainable in a competitive and rapidly changing economy. If the twin challenges of high unemployment

We want students to relate business ideas to their course says Daoud Zatari Photo: ETF/A. Ramella



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and a growing youth population are the ETF and other EU experts to to be addressed, then students need share knowledge, examine innovative to think in new, innovative ways. approaches and seek to identify new “They cannot simply follow a manual,” resources for further capacity building explains Zatari, “they need to make events. “However this is not an their own way in exercise to simply the community, tell people what we “Students need develop their are doing,” Zatari own business emphasises, “we to think in new, strategies and want people to tell innovative ways” build their own us what they are careers.” doing as well. With these new ideas we will be able to Experts are available define a better approach and move forward faster. We want to collect all Zatari did not have to start from the resources together and develop scratch when helping his university an international cooperative [network] embrace the changes because with other universities.” expert advice was available in other countries. He was aware however, What is the ETF’s contribution? that he would need to train the teachers first. “The business school In 2010 the Palestinian Technical already had an entrepreneurial University participated in the ETF’s approach, so we decided to develop flagship project to determine it in the engineering and technology the viability of indicators for school. Students were required to entrepreneurship promotion in tertiary relate business ideas to their course. education across 18 countries. The The students completed evaluation project involved experts from the forms at the end and the feedback Palestinian Technical University peer they gave was very positive.” reviewing policy and practice in Croatia, with Croatian counterparts “These students need to go beyond similarly reviewing Palestinian efforts theory and technical understanding in entrepreneurial learning. “With ETF when dealing with their employer,” support we are now engaged in an Zatari continues. “They must not only international network where knowunderstand that an electronic product how and good practice is encouraged. in the factory has gone wrong and The network and customised support know how to fix it for example, but from the ETF is really excellent both also understand market concepts, for my university and my country,” relate well to their employer and says Professor Zatari. suggest how the business might become more competitive by doing Words: Paul Rigg, ICE things another way. They must ask themselves: ‘What might improve the quality of this product? What could reduce its price and make us more competitive? What should the marketing strategy be?’”

Further information

Zatari is organising an international workshop in April 2011 to spread the practice of entrepreneurial learning across the country. Academics from the University of Cambridge will join

Palestinian Technical University of Kadoorie

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Working Becoming a true partner Mariavittoria Garlappi studied international relations at the University of Florence, before moving on to a postgraduate diploma in advanced international studies at the John Hopkins University. But what triggered her interest in the occupied Palestinian territory (OPT) was travelling through the area when she was 21 and then writing a thesis on the Middle East. “On my trip to the region I realised the specificity of these two different nations living on the same land. Since then I have not stopped following developments in the area,” she says. Later she lived in Morocco for one year and then spent 12 years implementing TVET projects in many countries for the Italian Chamber of Commerce. She identifies two key insights gained from this period. “Firstly I learnt to listen and understand various perspectives. It is a complex task trying to find a mutually beneficial outcome with multilevel stakeholders, but with TVET

you must have an inclusive approach or it does not work. Secondly I learnt that to build a partnership, you must strive to be a true partner.” She has been with the ETF for five years, and country manager of the OPT for one. In that time, the agency has decided to give new impetus to its collaboration with the country. The ETF currently has two national projects in the OPT. The first is about setting up a system that seeks to offer more transparency on the effectiveness of TVET resource employment. The second aims to

strengthen quality assurance. “Both projects are quite ambitious and fully in line with the ETF mandate to support policy making at system level,” she says. What keeps her motivated? “Education and training improves lives,” she responds. “In the OPT 50% of the population are under 15 and many young people are looking for work. The ETF can help them to acquire relevant skills for decent jobs so they people can be full citizens.” ■ Words: Paul Rigg, ICE

Photos: ETF/A. Ramella

April 2011

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Modern schools for Back in July 2009, Live&Learn reported on the launch of a new schools development programme in Central Asia. Now vocational schools in the region are receiving training to match skills and technology to labour market needs.

For Manuela Prina, the initiative can help authorities implement change. Photo: ETF/A. Ramella



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The idea grew out of an ETF poverty reduction programme in the Central Asian republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, which revealed that the need to improve training and education was key to improving access to employment, particularly in rural areas. Vocational education and training (VET) in this part of the world faces major reforms to match the requirements of an increasingly technology-focused labour market. A survey of more than 400 VET institutions across the three republics also showed the need for much better connections between the world of education and the world of business.

a wider range of opportunities for access to learning for all. What the ETF had seen in the skills development for poverty reduction project, where schools in rural areas piloted approaches to lifelong learning, was that “what started as a skills development approach became a school development adventure,” she says. A stake in vocational education

The first priority was to start a dialogue between all those with a stake in developing vocational education and training. A series of conferences was organised by the ETF to bring together staff, students, The idea of the policymakers initiative is to find from the various “Vocational education, ministries of ways to move away from the education, and the labour market classical approach social partners, and employers remain to learning, says including separate islands” Manuela Prina, employers, trade team leader of unions and NGOs the ETF initiative working in this in Central Asia, where there was just field. Study visits in EU countries showed one chance in a lifetime for instruction. how partnership with employers and trade The concept of lifelong learning still has unions had improved outcomes in VET and limited space in VET – both initial and how. continuous - in Central Asia, and, more often than not continuous vocational This exchange of information has been education and training was available only the foundation of a bespoke training for the unemployed, rather than covering programme for vocational school

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schools for modern skills

The schools development programme in Central Asia aims to find ways to move away from the classical approach to learning. Photos: ETF

teams from the three republics, including managers and staff, company representatives and policymaking bodies. More than 75 people in six school teams will benefit from the training, which ends in May 2011. The training programme, based on principles of self evaluation and quality management, concentrates not just on the traditional outputs such as how many students get a job, but also on their experience of the training offered and whether it met their expectations. Development of schools The scheme will also mean that those who have been trained in the new methods will, in turn, train other colleagues in the VET sector, explains Manuela Prina. “This opens up the possibility that for countries where evaluation and monitoring follow a more traditional concept of ‘inspection’, they can move to a self-driven development

of schools, identifying specific needs and objectives for improvement.” For instance, in Kazakhstan, regional authorities are working with the schools on the training programme to set up networks to disseminate the good practice learned. In Kyrgyzstan the in-service training institute is an active participant in the training programme while in Tajikistan the Ministries of Education and Labour are involved. In addition to this capacity building programme, which aims at empowering schools within the existing legal frameworks of the three countries, the ETF is also working with local and national authorities on recommendations to ensure that legislative or other barriers do not hamper the ability of schools to modernise their approach. For example, one suggestion is that the original survey can be used as a “transfer tool” to help authorities monitor and implement change. ■

“School selfassessment led to better quality teaching and learning“ Words: Patrick Kelly , ICE

April 2011

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05/04/2011 16:45:21


Communicating for the future of Uzbekistan Abdinazar Nurmanov of the Dzhizak State Pedagogical Institute. Photos: Sobir Isonkulov

One of the main purposes of the Republic of Uzbekistan’s educational system, especially the pedagogic institutions, is to improve the communications knowledge and skills of the country’s future specialists. Students learn about the theory and practice of socialisation in order to develop their skills for use in their professional lives. But teaching time is strictly limited, so extracurricular lessons are available to study this culture of socialisation in more depth. These include different social technologies which enable students to take the best advantage of the opportunities that relationship building can present. The extracurricular programme is designed in order to help develop the theoretical and practical fundamentals of social technologies such as verbal and non-verbal communication techniques, real life models etc. It emphasises both theory and practice, in particular logic, creative thinking, professional issues and social life. All social technologies are taken into consideration, including:  The objective evaluation of the final results;  The methodologies of verbal and nonverbal contacts, optical and kinetic body language with its emotional meaning and thought processes, paraand extra-linguistic meta-language, time and space for speech;  Tables to interpret non-verbal communication in an attempt to



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read the signs, symbols, signals and other emotional messages of body language. This is used to analyse eyes, smiles, gestures, poses etc. and is accompanied with pictures and commentary;  Standards related to targeting, reasoning, ethics, aesthetics, etiquette, active socialisation and other moral imperatives; The techniques enable the fundamentals of discussions to be understood, including body techniques, y perception of the participants in a conversation, as well as personal positioning from which self-control and/or self-expression can be understood. From this, students learn to understand a range of interpersonal and public relationships within different professional situations. Besides the class exercises there are also conversations, discussions, seminars and training courses which include many real life schemes particularly from the professional environment. These provide space for theoretical and practical training including exercises, tests, rehearsals, various life models and professional behavior under different conditions.

Students attempt to express themselves competently and gently, applying appropriate words and behaviour for the situation, such as compliments, courtesy and humour. They also learn to adopt styles of presentation including speech, appearance and conversation in accordance with the emotional and moral requirements of the occasion. This enables them to participate in various events in order to put the knowledge they have gained into practice. Uzbekistan actively explores student life through the extracurricular training of pedagogic students in order that they adopt effective communication schemes. A good example is Ms. Rano Rakhimova, the Dzhizak State Pedagogical Institute’s best student. Although this girl was shy and timid during seminars, student conferences and other similar events showed her to be quite different. Rano’s main target was to overcomes these personal barriers. This student did her best to study social skills; she watched and studied the real life of her teacher, the characters of plays, ballets, movies and other arts. During training Rano perfected her communication and prepared to be a good education specialist.

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Having graduated from Dzhizak State Pedagogical Institute, Rano now works at the New Hope Centre providing assistance to young offenders, alcoholics and drug addicts. She has successfully applied the lessons learned in terms of speaking and other communications skills to help transform these the young people’s lives.

Rano uses innovations such as, mood challenging and facial gestures in order to drive the conversation. She also uses body language and techniques such as friendliness, kindness, tactfulness in her conversations. It is remarkable that this environment helps to improve the lives of the young offenders. In addition, the educator develops her experience in the various communication skills.

So, training prospective educational specialists leads to the development of new professional requirements for teachers and, in turn, their pupils. â– Words: Abdinazar Nurmanov, Dzhizak State Pedagogical Institute

Students at the institute learn about communication and socialisation techniques.

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05/04/2011 16:45:27


Social force multipliers On a winter’s morning in early 2010, Ayoub Lahlou, a 27-year-old doctor, arrived in the village of Tghanint, 34 km from Al Hoceima in the rugged northern province of Morocco. It was a preventive care visit - nobody needed any urgent care - and so the villagers were more interested in Lahlou’s business advice than his medical knowledge. They wanted to start beekeeping. Their neighbours kept bees and apparently there was good money in it. “I knew nothing about beekeeping and, frankly, even if I had known anything, I would have had no time to help them in any meaningful way,” Lahlou said in Brussels last December. ‘I had a demanding job and was about to move to another health centre 400 km away.’ But after the visit Lahlou couldn’t stop thinking about the fate of the villagers, about beekeeping, about young people, and about the lost opportunities of rural Morocco. He is a kindly, ever-smiling, bespectacled man. His thinning hair and pale complexion are not those of a typical Moroccan man. He looks humble, but determined and sounds a little impatient.

Sarah Eldemerdash combats sexual harassment throguh her Harassmap initiative Photo: ETF

In December 2010, the ETF brought eight young social entrepreneurs from Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Egypt, Georgia, Jordan, Kosovo (under UN SCR 1244), Lebanon and Morocco to Brussels. They took part in an ETF conference Promoting Social Inclusion - and shared their knowledge of, and experience in, using social media for social change. Live&Learn talked to two of them about civic activism in a connected world. 20


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“What was needed, I thought, was a cheap, easy and time-efficient way to collect and share promising ideas,” he told me. “Ideas that can create a couple of jobs in a village, make life better for a family, give some hope for a community. And keep young people in the countryside.” Social media seemed best suited to the purpose. Lack of jobs Moroccan villages lose their young people. Almost everywhere around the world, the countryside is being depopulated. A lack of jobs and poor public services push people, especially young people, to the cities. The trouble is that the cities in Morocco are just another letdown for them. Unemployment is high, including the so-called “educated unemployment” of university graduates.

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Ayoub Lahlou (right), founder of the Badia Initiative Photo: ETF/EUP Images

There is no shortage of initiatives that try to improve the situation in the Moroccan countryside. Non-governmental organisations, international agencies and public authorities invest in rural development in Morocco. But, according to Lahlou, you could easily multiply the force of these individual actions, if you use social media and target young people as agents of change. You can build on what is already there, engaging and connecting people, help them share experience, expertise, give them some support. This is where Badia Initiative, an NGO established by Lahlou, came in. “Of course we won’t get far if we use only social media or focus our efforts in the villages with little internet access”, he said. Gathering speed They plan to use social media, mainstream media, training and consultancy to reach their goals. “We try to reach young people wherever they are, both in rural areas and at universities. We try to show them the possibilities, the success stories in rural Morocco, and encourage them to do something similar in their own communities.” For Lahlou, it’s just a beginning; his project has attracted the attention of important institutions, and is gathering speed. While the Badia Initiative is about sharing success stories and helping to multiply them, Harassmap in Egypt is about publicising sad stories and trying to eradicate them. Harassmap is an enough-is-enough-type of a story. Sara Eldemerdash, a young communication specialist from Cairo together with her colleagues, launched Harassmap, an initiative to combat sexual harassment in Egypt. She was outraged by the prevalence of sexual harassment and its social acceptability. During the day Eldemerdash works on a project with the Ministry of Justice. She takes care of Harassmap in her free time.

“The authorities pretend that harassment doesn’t exist in Egypt,’ says Sara, who experienced the problem herself. ‘There is no law against it. So, we want to make sure these cases don’t go unnoticed, that they are registered and impossible to disregard. ETF study An ETF study on women and work identified sexual harassment in the workplace as a serious problem in Egypt, Jordan and Morocco. The report pointed to sexual harassment at work and on the way to work as one of the reasons for women’s low activity levels in the labour market. From a technology point of view, Harassmap provides a platform for online social geo-tagging of harassment cases in Cairo. If you are harassed, you can send a short report to Harassmap by texting, sending an email, tweeting or submitting a simple online form. Each case is registered and put on a public map at There have been over 300 reports submitted since the site became operational in November 2010.

to establish physical presence in risky zones, for example, by encouraging shops to provide well-marked Harassmap “safe zones” for women. “Social media was very important in reaching out to young people, mobilising volunteers and engaging people’, says Eldemerdash. She says Harassmap now has around 70 volunteers in Cairo, Alexandria and Mansoura. But she also recognises the limits of new media in Egypt. ’Many people in Egypt are not familiar with the internet and social media.’ To tackle this, Harassmap tries to team up with social workers and plans to engage police stations. They also started to provide free legal help. Whether Eldemerdash and Lahlou succeed in bringing positive changes to their societies only time will tell. But one thing is beyond doubt even now: without the new media, they would not get their chance to try. Lahlou hasn’t yet gone back to Tghanint, but the beekeeping was an inspiration. ‘Bees are social animals, they learn from each other. So should we’. ■

Credibility Words: Marcin Monko, ETF

You can tag your report with various categories such as touching, catcalls, ogling, stalking or following, phone calls, indecent exposure, facial expressions, or sexual invitations. The report is verified by the Harassmap team and once it is published other website users can vote on its credibility. Harassmap, however, goes beyond the denouncement of sexual harassment. It also gathers geographical data to design social policy interventions focused on specific areas of Cairo. Harassmap tries

Further information Badia initiative Harrassmap April 2011

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Paolo Bartolozzi chair of the European Parliament’s Central Asia and Mongolia Delegation talks to the ETF about the region Legality, peace between ethnic groups, fighting corruption and press freedom: according to Paolo Bartolozzi these are the key elements on which to base stability in Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Mongolia). And he hopes that the positive process of one state can be a driving force for the others. “In 2010, Kyrgyzstan in particular was marked by violent ethnic clashes, even bloodshed,” explains the Member of the European Parliament (MEP). “The turmoil has now subsided and the installation of a new provisional government headed by Roza Otunbayeva seems to be effective. It is essential to quickly restore legality, start a process of reconciliation between ethnic groups, open up the media and engage in a decisive fight against corruption. The development of this process allows for the hope of a peaceful continuation of political life in this country and for a new stable democracy which would be useful not only for Kyrgyzstan but for all Central Asian governments,” he adds. Bartolozzi insists on the importance of reinforcing European support to political stability, a primary condition for imagining development possibilities. “The countries or geographical areas where political stability has been obtained intrinsically possess the indispensable requirements for constructive cooperation



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with the European Union, from which they themselves will benefit. Benefits must be understood, of course, to be reciprocal. Globalisation means the same. The intensification of trade and the development of foreign investments have a multiplier effect on economic and social growth in general, in particular, in the region we are discussing.”

economic and social development and the gradual inclusion of the Central Asian countries into the global economy.” And he underlines the importance of repeating past experiences that have proved effective, such as in the Western Balkans, and adapting them to the situation of other countries. “Development Cooperation is one of the objectives that the EU has long pursued and the breadth of the range of the beneficiaries has increased significantly in comparison with the past.”

The MEP believes the role of the EU is fundamental in overcoming the obstacles to ethnic co-existence. Essential too are the financing programmes aimed at strengthening the role of civil society, promotion of human rights “Education and training are and democratic the basis for every activity reforms. “EU financing to guarantee employment, instruments,” productivity and sustainable declares growth” Bartolozzi, “aim to eradicate poverty, foster sustainable

Who is Paolo Bartolozzi? Born in 1957, Paolo Bartolozzi graduated in law and is married with two children. From 2001 to 2004 at the European Parliament, he was a member of the Committee on Legal Affairs and the Internal Market and a substitute member of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs. He was also a member of the delegation for relations with the countries of Central America and Mexico. Re-elected to the European Parliament in 2008, he is now a member of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety. He is chair of the EU Parliament’s Central Asia and Mongolia Delegation, and a substitute member of the Committee on Legal Affairs and of the Delegation for relations with the countries of Central America.

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One of the strategic priorities of Central Asia is to reach EU standards in education Photo: ETF/A.Jongsma

One of the strategic priorities of Central Asia is to reach European standards in education, bearing in mind that the majority of the population in these areas is under twenty-five and represents an important resource for the development of the region. “Education and training,” states Bartolozzi, “are the basis for every activity to guarantee employment, productivity and sustainable growth. Given fierce international competition, the growth of a region depends on the training tools at its disposal and how they enable its citizens to undertake dignified and stable work and how they teach people to be competitive.” The Italian MEP sees the work undertaken by the ETF in these countries as positive, marking the path for the coming decade. “The establishment of the ETF as a specialist agency of the European Commission for vocational education and training was a good idea. To make it even more effective, I think it should move towards greater awareness in the institutional sphere too, aiming to bring more conspicuous resources to vocational education and training, diverting them from

redundant and unproductive interventions. Investment for education and training should be incorporated into research which is the springboard for the growth and economic welfare of citizens.” For the next ten years Bartolozzi sees a Central Asia in consolidation, which is a positive element for its economic recovery. “The economic, social and political conditions of each Central Asian country differ considerably and an important role is played by ethnic, cultural and political factors as well by the abundance or lack of natural resources. Independence also requires a process of adjustment, which I see progressively being established and which is the bearer of civil and moral values focused on democracy and the recognition of human rights.”

“Investment for education and training should be incorporated into research”

The EU monitors carefully how the situation in Central Asia is developing. “The European Parliament also follows the evolution of these countries with interest through the Delegation,” concludes Bartolozzi, “and its activity contributes to intensifying and strengthening economic, social and cultural relationships in the area to guarantee peace, security, stability, the fight against crime and an economic and social development able to guarantee human rights.” ■ Words: Laura Siviero, ICE

Further information Euroepan Parliament’s Central Asia and Mongolia Delegation

April 2011

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05/04/2011 16:45:38


Equity in education – fairer access benefits society, new ETF study finds ETF experts were ahead of the curve three years ago when they began a study of how human capital can contribute to development. The study – Relationship between human capital development and equity – focuses on how fairly education and training is distributed across the three dimensions of equity – access, choice and quality - and argues that an equitable distribution of human capital benefits society and the overall economy. It is a key factor of increasing concern to public policymakers the world over. Equity in education and training was found to be a critical factor, ETF experts found, with policymakers in many countries failing to take it adequately into account. And as the study got underway in the Republic of Moldova and Tajikistan, international public policy thinking began a shift away from solely relying on economic

indicators to take into account a broader range including education and equity. This is known as the ‘going beyond Gross Domestic Product’ debate. “We did not pick equity because of that debate, this was before it became popular,” says Jens Johansen, a quantitative analyst at the ETF. “We picked it because when we looked into human capital development we kept returning to the issue of social inclusion and equity and we realised there was something in that.” Preparing for the future Siria Taurelli, study coordinator and ETF country manager for the Republic of Moldova, takes up the story: “It was

important to draw a picture of human capital development in each country, to see how human capital is used – how people and their skills are employed by the labour market and how well the education and training system prepares people for the future.”

“When we looked into human capital development we kept returning to the issue of social inclusion”

Students in Moldova pose for the camera during filming 24


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Photo: ETF/Nicolae Ionascu

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Further information Learning for a better life watch?v=v76F6AslSuk

Study coordinator, Siria Taurelli, had the idea for the film “Learning for a Better Life” Photo: ETF/Nicolae Ionascu

That meant gathering data on access, choice and quality of human capital development opportunities according to variables that included gender, rural or urban location, income and social class. Key indicators were educational level, enrolments at different levels, availability of learning options, use of skills on the job, and continuing learning. Surveys of individuals and enterprises and focus groups of teachers, professionals, policy makers, employers and other stakeholders supplemented the available data. The study – carried out by local agencies in both countries - took place over the first half of 2010. Preliminary results show that although the Republic of Moldova and Tajikistan are very different societies, in both education and training opportunities of good quality are heavily weighted in favour of urban populations. “There is a big dichotomy between rural and urban in all aspects of the equity debate; gender is less of an issue in Moldova,” Jens says. There was also a generational dimension – with access less equitable in both countries now compared to 20 years ago. “The younger generation is at a disadvantage compared to their parents; lack of equity has become an issue in the transition years,” says Siria. Positive finding A positive finding is that in both countries education remains a highly-valued social good, with people across class and income categories seeing it as key to a better future. The report and its findings – available on the ETF website – have already been used for stakeholder seminars in the countries in the summer and autumn of 2010 and it is hoped they will become a tool for informing better policy decisions in countries far beyond Moldova and Tajikistan.

One way of spreading the word is to use images: a film about the study shot in Moldova and Tajikistan is also out now.

into the lives of the people affected by policymakers’ decision on human capital development.

“Learning for a better life: the cases of the Republic of Moldova and Tajikistan” is a 12-minute film that gives a glimpse

Designed to be both entertaining and informative with an appeal for both a specialist and broader audience, the film will be used at ETF seminars and conferences to show how careful and critical thinking about important policy issues can bring more open and better education and training for ordinary people.

“Lack of equity has become an issue in the transition years”

Words: Nck Holdsworth, ICE

The making of “Learning for a better life” Nick Holdsworth, director of the film, takes us through the film making process It should look effortless, make sense, inform and entertain. Take a look at ‘Learning for a better life’ on the ETF website and YouTube and judge for yourself. The film offers a glimpse into what the ETF is all about: helping bring positive change to people’s lives through having an impact on education and training policies and practices in its partner countries. It began with a conference call between writer/director Nick Holdsworth, ETF communication officer Andrew Martin and ETF experts Siria Taurelli and Jens Johansen. A script was written and shooting took place in autumn 2010, with Siria and Jens participating in Moldova (with Andrew as producer on hand too) and Jens and country manager Franca Crestani in Tajikistan. In Chisinau, Siria learned how to step into view – using a small mark on the

pavement for placement – to do a piece to camera; out in the countryside Jens braved a muddy field to create a convincing ‘walk and talk’ with farmer Grigori Gore. In Dushanbe, Tajikistan, Franca discovered how to film an interview in a way that makes it look as if you have got two cameras, when you’ve only got one. Working with professional cameramen with digital equipment, securing original music for the filmscore, adapting a working script to accommodate last minute changes to location and interviewees was all part of the job. The film was edited in London, voice over and music dubbed in, captions prepared and wrinkles ironed out. My favourite scenes? The cut to rural Moldova with its haunting music and graceful ploughing tractor sequence… and the last piece to camera where Jens strides across a square in Tajikistan, first in long shot, then close up. It only took half a dozen takes to get right, but it was worth it…

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05/04/2011 16:45:42


Education and democracy the Icelandic path to a fairer society Iceland’s education system emerged as virtually the only government structure its people trusted after the financial crisis of 2008 triggered the collapse of all three of its major commercial banks. The crisis damaged Iceland’s international reputation with the country narrowly avoiding bankruptcy. Katrin Jakobsdottir, the Minister of Education, Science and Culture, believes it also exposed flaws in its civil society and sees education for democracy as a key ingredient in the country’s recovery. As an EU accession country – with entry on course for 2012 subject to a national referendum – education could play a major part in the northern Atlantic island’s move away from the brink. Iceland’s education system – a compulsory primary system for 6-15 year old olds, followed by secondary school from 16-20 and university after that – is ripe for reform, the 35-year-old minister believes. Spending - high by European standards at 8% of GDP - is concentrated on the primary sector partly because maintaining schools for a small but widely scattered population of just 311,000 people is an expensive business. With dropout rates of around one in three in secondary education and lower spending than the OECD average on universities, it is clear that change is needed. “Although in recent years we have seen an increase in the numbers of young people going to university, we still have around one-third of the population leaving school after finishing primary education,” Ms Jakobsdottir says. Due to the relative lack of short, flexible vocational courses and problems with work-based apprenticeships and training schemes, tackling the issue is a key priority.

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“The law laid the grounds for building up an apprenticeship system based on cooperation between the labour market and vocational training but with 10% cuts in secondary and 15% cuts in university spending over the past three years we have been unable to do that. Hopefully, we are now seeing an end to the cuts.” Learning from experience

population leaving school after finishing primary education”

Iceland has long had a strong vocational system and adult education was originally set up as a partnership between employers and the unions with the state coming in as a stakeholder only later. Industry and vocational schools work well together on devising curricula, but there are not enough enterprise-based practical training schemes where young people can complete a vocational education. Live&Learn

Education reforms introduced in 2008 allow for more flexible study programmes including the sort of short and intermediate courses that have been adopted across Europe for vocational studies, but the financial crisis – which forced budget cuts of up to 15% across the system – has frustrated implementation.

The minister is open to learning from the experience of other countries and believes that organisations like the ETF could certainly play a part in Iceland’s education reform process, whether the “We still have around country opts to join the EU or not. one-third of the

Strong vocational system


“We need more pluralism in the system; more choice after primary education for those who want to train for a vocation, particularly since the secondary education system is focused on preparing students for further academic study,” says the minister.

“I hope that our education system does change and create more choices so that people can find studies that are suitable. I’m also keen that young people learn better how to make moral decisions and believe it is important to strengthen the role the system plays in educating democratic citizens,” the minister says. Sharing experience on flexible learning is also a key issue, she thinks. The long history of secondary school dropouts means that many people never finished formal studies and, even though they may be working in a particular field,

Minister Jakobsdottir sees Iceland’s education system as a producer of moral, democratic citizens Photo: Ministry of Education, Science and Culture, Iceland

lack the qualifications on paper that could help them progress. A new system of accreditation of prior experience combined with secondary completion courses for adult learners is proving very popular. Comparing notes Sharing experience on improving the system of work-based apprenticeships and training courses would also be welcome; the biggest category of emails the minister receives from ordinary people is that of complaints from vocational students who cannot finish their studies for want of a company-based training scheme. Comparing notes on how to keep young people in education post-16 would be welcome, she adds. Iceland has a long history of cooperation with Europe in educational matters – particularly the Nordic countries where many Icelandic students go to study. Europe could have a lot to learn from the way its adult education system works, with its close cooperation between employers and unions. All European countries could probably also benefit from a clear understanding of the role education has to play in strengthening civil society. “A lot of people in Iceland see the financial crisis we went through as a failure of democracy,” Jakobsdottir says. “But the education system did not collapse and, after the crisis, it is the civil institution people still trust here, which is a key factor in helping us make the changes that are now necessary.” ■ Words: Nick Holdsworth, ICE

Further information Ministry of Education, Science and Culture

April 2011

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Coming up

In the next issue... Torino Process: Learning from evidence On 9-11 May 2011 the ETF will host an event which will gather together decision makers from the governments, ministries, agencies, practitioners and social partners in the ETF partner countries, EU institutions, Member States and international organisations to generate discussion and exchange on current priorities for VET policy reform and the role of evidence in VET policy making. Live&Learn will be there to speak to some of the delegates and bring readers the outcomes of discussions. ■

Country Focus: Israel Looking at education and training reform in Israel, Live&Learn will speak with Dr Ronit Ashkenazi, author of the Torino Process report for Israel. In addition, ETF country manager for Israel, Sabina Nari will discuss ETF interventions in the country. ■

Passport stamp Live&Learn will talk to some of its more seasoned travellers about their most memorable experiences of visiting the partner countries on business trips for the ETF. Given that the ETF has been operational since 1995, when there was conflict in the Western Balkans, and has expanded to cover countries in the Middle East and North Africa, this will provide a fascinating insight into what goes on in parallel to the day-today education and training reform business of the agency. ■

April 2011

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Live&Learn Issue 20  

Live&Learn, the quarterly magazine of the European Training Foundation (ETF), brings stories about vocational education (VET)and employment...