The outbreak of COVID-19 is posing a significant challenge on skills development. As gatherings of people is discouraged due to public health concerns, many of educational institutions in Armenia from time to time turn to online mode.
Vocational education and training institutions (VETIs) implement online learning, however, according to the data gathered, they struggle with shifting classroom teaching to home-based online education. Therefore, there is un argent need to adopt VET delivery modality to assure accessibility and quality of online vocational education.
With the financial support of the UK Conflict Stability and Security Fund (CSSF), UNDP, within the joint UNDP-UNICEF “Strengthening Stability and Resilience of the Bordering Communities in Vayots Dzor, Gegharkunik and Syunik Regions” (Phase 3) project, is addressing challenges of online VET system based on the evidence-based decision-making at national level as per recommendations of rapid assessment entitled “Adjustment to ‘New Normal’ of VETIs and Policy Makers” conducted during the second phase of the project across the three target regions in March 2021. The results of the assessment fed the national agenda of VET development as well as channelled project’s funds to the implementation of policy-level reforms in the field of online VET.
The results of the rapid assessment revealed that VET institutions shifting to online education over extremely short period of time are facing considerable challenges in proper delivery of online VET, due to imperfect legal environment and absence of clear guidance on how to deliver vocational education courses online. So, it is right time for policy makers and VET practitioners to discuss and learn how to assure qualitative delivery and accessibility to online VET.
The first meeting of the Interagency Working Group (IWG) established by the decision of the RA Minister of Education, Science Culture and Sport (MESCS) to improve legal environment of online VET kicked off online in November 2021. It was co-chaired by Zhanna Andreasyan, Deputy Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sport and Karine Simonyan, Project Coordinator. The Deputy Minister expressed full satisfaction with the project cooperation and thanked UNDP for being responsive to the urgent needs of the VET sector in Armenia.
UNDP is playing a leading and facilitating role in supporting the IWG and government stakeholders to develop draft regulations aimed at creation of enabling legal environment for online TVET. These draft regulations will be developed by the team of UNDP local experts and discussed by the IWG and, upon validation by concerned stakeholders, will be submitted to the MESCS for further endorsement.
UNDP intervention in the field of online VET will consolidate efforts towards improved quality of VET system and will contribute to the development of the competitive and more employable labour force across the target regions and the country at large thus transforming the project impact from the regional to the national level.