Vocational Education and Employment in Georgia
Should we expect a revolution of skills in Georgia? How does the private sector contribute to employment growth? What is the government’s role?
Who bears responsibility for the high rate of unemployment, and why do western colleagues suggest we strengthen vocational education? – Irina Tserodze, head of the Education Ministry Department for Vocational Education, talks about these issues for the BusinessPartner TV program.
Starting in 2020 our young people, upon turning 18, will be able to graduate schools into specific professions and find job places, Irina Tserodze said.
To this end, the government plans to make vocational schools available all over Georgia, in all the municipalities of the country, Tserodze pointed out.
Vocational component runs in 40 municipalities, but there are municipalities without even private providers of vocational education. Therefore, in September-December of 2019 and through 2020, we will cover all municipalities. The Ministry has prepared several models in this respect. The Department will use resources of partially-filled schools, or those with too much space to launch even small vocational programs for pupils, Irina Tserodze noted.
“I believe it will be a very attractive offer for pupils to acquire vocational professions in the 10th, 11th and 12th classes along with the public school’s general program, and learn at least one vocational profession. This is a unique opportunity for all parents and pupils. In this way, the government will not spend money on building a new college. We plan to more efficiently distribute these resources and receive efficient results. Starting in 2020, all school graduates, upon turning 18, will have at least one vocational profession, and they will easily find jobs”, Tserodze said.
Today, the international labor market recognizes Georgian-issued qualifications. The government’s reform programs prioritize making Georgian citizens competitive both in Georgia and abroad. Low qualifications are one of the key reasons behind unemployment, and the government program’s aim is to deal with this problem, Irina Tserodze pointed out.
“The key objective of the reform is to make our workforce competitive both in Georgia and abroad. The current reforms are based on labor market statistics, under which we have 1,600,000 employed citizens, both self-employed and hired, and only 700,000 have finished the public school course in full. This means that our citizens do not have professions, do not possess the modern skills required for employment and this is a key reason why employers complain about the absence of a highly-qualified and skilled workforce,” Tserodze said.
The government has prepared a very efficient system for training these low-qualified adults. After a two-year course, the participants receive internationally-recognized certificates, she noted.
“This category needs quick training courses, but it is impossible to learn new professions and acquire new skills in so short a period. Therefore, the government has introduced a unique system for his category. This system is oriented towards quick employment and geographical attainability.
Today, a two-year free vocational schools operate in all regions of Georgia. Moreover, absolutely free of charge, citizens of Georgia are able to go to fully-funded colleges or private legal entities, for any profession, including 2-month, 3-month or 6-month courses. The government will fund all schools that issue state certificates”, Tserodze explained.
Under the new framework of national qualification, Georgia-issued certificates are recognized on the international market, she said.
‘We talk about the new framework of national qualification that was enforced in March 2019. This means that Georgia-issued certificates are recognized on the international market. Today, in Germany or any other country, if an employer decides to employ a Georgian citizen with a new diploma, the confirmed qualification will have equal respect with the diploma of the employer country”, Tserodze noted.
Starting in October 2019, the company engaged in so-called dual vocational education, which will independently decide whether to take a student for a production practice or not. Students will not have to take additional tests, Tserodze specified.
As commonly understood, the so-called dual vocational education system based on practice for blue-collar work was introduced two years ago to assist employers in training desirable staff, and to simplify employment opportunities for graduates.
Tserodze noted that two years ago, about 6 companies engaged in dual programs, and today 50 companies have joined these programs, because the private sector has realized the importance of similar vocational education. Starting in October, the relevant companies will have more independence in selecting students, she added.
“We have a new addition that will for the October team, when the registration will be announced. Namely, employers will be granted wider autonomy in the process of selection of students. Previously employers were to select students, and then students had to pass certain tests, but this year we have started to allow employers to enjoy full autonomy in selecting students, and the students will not have to pass tests”, Tserodze explained.
In the vocational education program, employers will be engaged in 2 forms – engagement in dual programs and training courses, she pointed out.
“Based on the needs of employers, they will engage in vocational educational program in two forms: dual education and training programs. Any legal and physical body will be able to implement short-term training courses, and get state funds.
They should just obtain a license, and after that, they will receive state-recognized certificates, and the owners of these certificates are entitled to use document in two ways: continue their studies, or use this document, which will be recognized both in Georgia and abroad”, Irina Tserodze said.