- Human Resource Management
- public information
The Minister of Education and Science of Georgia, Mikheil Chkhenkeli, summarized the activities carried out in 2022 within the framework of the vocational education reform and introduced the current and future projects to the members of the legislative body.
In his speech, the minister emphasized that the reform process is focused on further increasing the capabilities. In particular, to offer diverse and affordable services to citizens for the purpose of further employment, starting an entrepreneurial activity, professional or personal development. According to him, the network of public and private educational institutions is being expanded, including the promotion of the introduction of vocational programs in universities and general educational institutions, which, in accordance with the state policy, is facilitated by the projects implemented by international donor organizations.
"The goal of our team is to make vocational education even more popular and accessible to citizens of any age in all regions of Georgia. The Ministry, with the active involvement of the private sector, will work intensively in the direction of improving the quality of vocational education and bringing it even closer to the European educational space." - Said Mikheil Chkhenkeli.
As the minister noted, a new framework for quality assurance of professional education was launched. With the active involvement of the private sector, new vocational standards and educational programs were created, and in order to quickly respond to the demands of the labour market, short-term training-retraining programs were introduced within the framework of formal education. At the same time, the general education component was successfully integrated into vocational education, which created a full-fledged, alternative way of obtaining full general education after basic education in the country. It is important that public-private partnership models are introduced. As a result, the field of professional education moved to a new stage of development and piloting the principles of dual education was implemented.
Mikheil Chkhenkeli spoke about the infrastructural projects implemented in recent years, within the framework of which vocational educational institutions corresponding to modern standards were opened in Kaspi, Marneuli, Chokhatauri, Keda and Shuakhevi. In 2022, the development of new locations in Khashuri, Tskaltubo and Lanchkhuti municipalities was completed. In addition, the implementation of infrastructural projects of professional educational institutions in Tbilisi, Borjomi, Batumi, Akhalkalaki, Bolnisi and Gurjaani continues.
According to the minister, along with the construction of new colleges, new practical training workshops are being built. In 2022, the construction and equipping of workshops was completed in the municipalities of Gurjaani, Akhmeta, Tsalenjikha, Ambrolauri, Poti, Mtskheta and colleges in Tbilisi. The construction works of the workshops continue also in the municipalities of Kobuleti, Kachreti, Potsho-Esreni and Lagodekhi. In addition, tender procedures are underway for the construction of workshops of Mestia and Telavi colleges.
It should be noted that in parallel with the expansion of the network of colleges, in order to add new programs, in accordance with the identified needs, the process of equipping all existing educational institutions and institutional development is underway.
It is worth noting that the demand for vocational education has increased, which is caused by the new opportunity that provides young people with basic education with full general education in parallel with the study of the vocational. The introduction of integrated secondary vocational programs in 2020 started on a small scale and with a well-considered strategy. This year, more than 1,000 places were offered for these programs, and in the future, a sharp increase in the scale of these programs is planned.
Mikheil Chkhenkeli drew attention to the initiative of the Prime Minister of Georgia, Mr. Irakli Gharibashvili, which takes into account promoting the employment of socially vulnerable citizens as much as possible, the shortest way of which is to equip them with professional skills. According to the Minister, since 2019, the Ministry has been implementing short-term training/retraining programs for citizens of any age. After completing the programs developed on the basis of public-private partnership, which are financed by the state, students receive certificates recognized by the state. According to the Minister, the Ministry will support the socially vulnerable citizens as much as possible to benefit from the training/retraining programs offered by the state.
According to Mikheil Chkhenkeli, in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia and the Ministry of IDPs from Occupied Territories, Labor, Health and Social Protection, there is a state program of professional training, vocational training and qualification improvement of job seekers, the purpose of which is professional training and retraining of job seekers in vocations that in demand in today’s labour market. The mentioned state program is based only on authorized programs, which creates a prerequisite for their quality implementation.
It is important that the introduction of new mechanisms for ensuring the quality of vocational education is being successfully implemented, which is in full compliance with EQAVET (European Quality Network of Vocational Education) indicators. By 2026, all educational institutions will function in full compliance with the new standard, which will strengthen international ties and promote international recognition of national qualifications. It should be noted that in December of this year, the International Forum on Quality Assurance of Vocational Education will be held in Georgia.
Regarding the recognition of non-formal education, the system of recognition of previous non-formal education has been fully implemented in the vocational education system. To date, 8 educational institutions in 11 different fields have the opportunity to confirm the possession of the necessary skills for the labour market in accordance with the industry standards, without having to go through the program, and to issue a qualification document, which provides an opportunity to save time and financial resources.
As the minister noted, within the framework of the reform, a special emphasis is placed on the internationalization of the vocational education system. From 2022, the Erasmus+ program was launched at the level of professional education - 2 projects were financed. The scale of the mentioned project will gradually increase. Also, work continues in the direction of the development of centres of excellence (CoE) and international schools, which will help attract foreign students.
Mikheil Chkhenkeli: "Foreign language centres will be launched in colleges. Exchange programs will be offered to both students and vocational education teachers. On the initiative of the Prime Minister of Georgia, Mr. Irakli Gharibashvili, foreign teachers are involved in the educational process from 2022, which provides an opportunity to introduce international standards in the educational process."
From the point of view of internationalization, it should be noted that the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia will actively cooperate with the Lausanne EHL Hospitality Business School through the implementation of joint professional educational programs. As the minister said, the business school is currently recognized as the best school in the world in the field of hospitality, therefore, sharing its experience will be extremely important for the country.
"In November of this year, during my visit to Switzerland, I personally held a meeting with the Chairman of the Supervisory Board of EHL Holding, Mr. Michel Rochat, and the Managing Director of EHL Hospitality Business School, Mr. Andre Mak. As a result, negotiations regarding the format of cooperation and future plans with EHL Hospitality Business School were successfully completed. I would also like to inform you that within the framework of my visit to Switzerland, I held high-level meetings with the Federal Counselor (Minister) for Economic Relations, Education and Research of the Swiss Confederation - Guy Parmelin and the Secretary of State for Education, Research and Innovation of the Swiss Confederation (Minister) - Martina Hirayama, with whom I have a close relationship in the field of professional education. I discussed issues of cooperation. I am glad to inform you that the Swiss side has expressed its willingness to cooperate closely with Georgia in the direction of vocational education development, and they will make their own contribution to the development of vocational education in Georgia.” - stated the minister in his speech.
It is important that with the support of the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia, in cooperation with the Basque Culinary Center and the Caucasus University, the construction works of the Gastronomic Academy of the Caucasus University are underway in Gurjaani. From 2024, the Academy will offer both Georgian and foreign students the opportunity to receive high-quality professional education. A student campus, sports hall and recreational space will be built within the project.
The minister also noted that within the framework of the partnership between the Ministry and the German Reconstruction Credit Bank (KfW), active work continues in the direction of the development of two new centres of international level - the Telavi Wine School and the Dusheti Tourism School . Also, with the support of the German government, the so-called transport/logistics and construction direction is actively being carried out in Tbilisi. Center of Excellence development process.
Regarding the promotion of colleges, Mikheil Chkhenkeli said that the institutional development of colleges is supported as much as possible and a new model of professional development of teachers has been prepared.
Mikheil Chkhenkeli: "In order for the colleges to quickly and efficiently respond to the challenges related to the reform, the Ministry supports the institutional development of the colleges as much as possible. A new model of vocational development of teachers has been prepared, the systematic implementation of which will start from 2023. It should be noted that in 2023, the hourly salary of vocational education teachers will increase by 20%, and the salary of administrative staff will increase by 10%."
According to the Minister, in 2022 the Government of Georgia approved the regulatory framework for work-based learning, which is an important achievement for the Ministry and the educational field, as well as for the partner private sector and international organizations. Work-based learning is a guarantee of relevance, quality, and effectiveness of professional education to the requirements of the labour market. As a result of engaging in work-based learning, enterprises will train highly qualified personnel in partnership with colleges. In addition, students will be able to develop professional and transferable skills in a real work environment and be employed while studying.
Mikheil Chkhenkeli singled out the issue of creating an equally accessible educational environment. According to him, within the framework of the unified national strategy of education and science of Georgia for 2022-2030, an important emphasis is placed on ensuring the availability of diverse, inclusive and individual needs-oriented professional education, which, in turn, will increase the inclusiveness of the system. The strategy also envisages the introduction of a diversified funding model, which will contribute to the development of financial and human resources and more effective budget management in the conditions of the increase in the scale of professional education. With the support of the German international community, taking into account the best international practices, a new approach to the financing of professional education has already been prepared, which takes into account the results-based financing model of institutions.
From the point of view of public-private partnership, the Minister highlighted the activities of the Cocational Skills Agency, with the active involvement of which the following were created: a new model of qualifications development, the regulatory rules for organizing qualification exams, supporting mechanisms for sectoral skills organizations and training enterprises, and a career counselling and management strategy in the field of education. In addition, a student services support program was introduced and a training program in the state language was created, which creates completely unique opportunities for the civic integration of ethnic minorities in the educational field of Georgia. In addition, the professional skills development program continues under the coordination of the agency, which, in cooperation with colleges and general educational institutions, involves offering orientation and certificate courses for the development of professional skills for students of grades 8-12.