Skills Week boosts quality vocational education in Georgia

Switzerland and UNDP help Georgia’s Skills Agency to launch a nationwide discussion on the skills ecosystem

July 22, 2022
Vocational training at Georgian schools
Photo: Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia

Quality vocational education and training can be a pathway to success for many Georgians struggling with unemployment and poverty. Around 34 percent of Georgian youth are currently classified as not in employment, education or training (NEET) while youth unemployment exceeds 40 percent in some of the regions.

To give vocational education and training a boost, Georgia’s newly established Skills Agency, with support from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and UNDP, launched a Skills Week, aiming to discuss more effective educational models and greater cooperation between educational institutions and the private sector. Interactive and innovative events, presentations and discussions organised on 18-22 July, brought together decision-makers, educators, scholars and entrepreneurs.

The Week’s participants discussed how government organizations could better work with the private sector to ensure that vocational schools supply skills needed in the local labour markets, contributing to employment and economic growth. The discussion also addressed lifelong education, offering self-development opportunities at any age, and integrated training programmes aimed at unlocking ‘dead-ends’ associated with vocational education.

Representatives of the Skills Agency presented key findings of a recent study analysing public attitudes toward vocational education. They also discussed a new vision of research in vocational education and training and potential strategies for developing a so-called ‘skills ecosystem’ that balances the demand and supply of skills in the labour market.

“Developing modern skills tailored for Georgia’s economy is critical for the ongoing reform in vocational education and training. Our goal is to help the state institutions and the private sector understand a connection between professional skills and economic development, and create an ecosystem where the skills supply will be integrated into sectoral development policies.”
Tamar Kitiashvili, Skills Agency Director
“Switzerland assists Georgia to reform and improve its system of vocational education and training that serves as a critical tool for reducing poverty and unemployment. We provide resources and expertise needed to develop effective policies, introduce modern approaches to education, launch new training programmes and increase the professionalism of educational managers and teachers.”
Beka Tagauri, National Programme Coordinator at the Swiss Cooperation Office
“In Georgia, only 5 percent of secondary school graduates choose to enter vocational education programmes, compared to 48 percent in the European Union countries. UNDP works with a wide range of partners, including Government, educational institutions and the private sector, to introduce new approaches to vocational education and training and make it a pathway to prosperity and economic growth.”
Anna Chernyshova, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in Georgia

The SDC and UNDP are supporting reforms in Georgia’s vocational education and training drawing on the resources of a Swiss-funded US$8 million programme to promote high-quality professional training in agriculture. The programme runs in close partnership with the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia, educational institutions and private companies.

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