VET Reform Evaluated 2017-10-16

Within ReforMeter, the VET reform assessment was conducted on October 4, 2017. According to the Government Survey, 80% of 2013-2017 Action Plan, and 50% of the entire reform, which is scheduled to last until 2020, has been implemented. The survey also showed how the reform, including launch of the dual education system, which took off in 2013 revamped the whole structure of vocational education system. However, it will be difficult to achieve the desired results without active involvement of private sector.

The reform was evaluated by the Stakeholder Group with a score of 5.76 out of 10. At the stakeholders’ meeting, the representatives of the Ministry of Education and Science stated that, as of 2013, the duration of VET programs was short, and as a result, 16 year-old citizens were already entering the labor market with incomplete education and qualifications. The duration of the programs was increased after 2013, which caused a decrease in the number of the students in the VET system. The employment among VET graduates increases gradually from year to year. It is worth mentioning that the Ministry only has data for public colleges and programs. Based on Georgia's new regulations, the private colleges and programs will be obliged to integrate all the data into an electronic system. Geographical access to vocational education improved during last 4 years. Colleges are represented in all regions of Georgia, and three new locations will be added this year.

The Ministry also mentioned that the government is in the process of forming a Private Public Partnership framework. Dual programs in agriculture education already exist, and three new dual programs in tourism education are planned in the near future. It was noted that the voucher financing system creates a situation where private colleges are in uneven competition with public colleges. The Ministry is currently considering switching to a “performance-based” financing system, where private and public institutions will be treated equally; however, the programs will be filtered by priority professions. Based on new quality control regulation, employers will be engaged as external evaluators in the programs, and will evaluate the level of preparation of the students .

According to international organizations, the involvement of the private sector in the informal education sector is a challenge everywhere in the world. The private sector often believes that education, including vocational education, is the sole prerogative of the government. Therefore, the awareness of the private sector should be raised in this regard.

Representatives of public colleges mentioned that there are successful examples of business involvement in Georgia. However, to increase their motivation, more flexible tax legislation is required. It is also necessary for the employers to evaluate the student. This will help businesses to be informed about the programs, so that they will not spend additional resources for the same kind of trainings.