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05.04.2017

People in Need Promotes Vocational Education in Georgia

One of the biggest problems that Georgia faces in its effort to stay on pace with other European countries is that it does not have enough qualified specialists in the fields of agriculture, veterinary services, food industry, tourism and information technology (IT). Despite a high unemployment rate in Georgia, there are a surprisingly high number of skilled-labor positions that remain vacant because the labor force in these technical fields is undertrained and undeveloped.

 

Skills mismatch was named as one of the main causes of unemployment by the Georgia Labor Market Research (2016): "While the deficient labor demand is the primary cause of high unemployment in Georgia, the skills mismatch is a significant contributing factor."

 

The main reason for this deficiency is that few higher education institutions offer market- oriented vocational educational programs. As a result, graduates cannot develop the competencies needed to compete for the best jobs in these sectors.

 

People in Need (PIN) recognized this problem and, with the financial support of the European Union in 2015, launched the project "Improving Formal, Non-Formal and Informal Vocational Education In Georgia". This project focuses on improving the quality of vocational education for the agribusiness sector in Georgia. PIN, along with its partner - Centre for Training and Consultancy (CTC), offered support to the most prestigious educational institution in Kutaisi - Akaki Tsereteli State University (ATSU) with the specific intention to improve its vocational education curriculum.

 

Since 2011, ATSU has been offering more than sixty vocational educational courses annually. Despite the variety of vocational educational programs at ATSU, the courses were not well organized because the university did not have a strategic development plan. As a result, the university was unable to provide students with high quality vocational education courses and the enrollment in the courses was quite low.

 

A study of the ‘Agricultural Labor market in Imereti' carried out in 2016 by PIN's partner GeoWel Research in the frame of the project confirmed that high school students hold a negative opinion of vocational education. According to a survey conducted in high schools of Imereti, only 9% of the students were considering continuing their education in VET.

 

Most of the students named as the main reason of their negative attitude towards vocational education, the low quality of courses and inadequate infrastructure to develop practical experiences.

 

PIN's first step was to support ATSU in establishing a solid, manageable strategic development plan that included a detailed action plan and monitoring plan for vocational education programs. The plan is a practical guide to reorganizing, structuring and popularizing the vocational courses at ATSU.

 

Besides, in order to develop modern competencies of teaching in vocational programs, PIN and CTC conducted a series of professional developmental trainings for ATSU teachers and administrative staff that focused on the adult learners' methodology and the evaluation of modular education.

 

PIN also organized a study tour for the ATSU teachers staff in Azerbaijan, at Ganja Agrarian University, where Azerbaijani colleagues shared their experiences with their Georgian counterparts on modern approaches and methods in VET pedagogy. During the 6-day study tour, Georgian teachers learned how to organize their curriculum using modern VET teaching methodologies, how to prepare, administer, and grade tests and assignments to evaluate students' progress, and how to prepare and implement remedial programs for students requiring extra help.

 

As a result, ATSU teaching staff have improved their understanding in the methodology necessary for providing high quality vocational education courses.

 

"Training, in combination with the study tour, equipped me with the theoretical knowledge and practical skills necessary for teaching vocational courses. Now, I am better prepared to set clear objectives for lessons, taking into account modern approaches and communicate those objectives to students. Since the training, I see my role in the classroom as a facilitator, who gives a floor to students and stimulates critical thinking. I will also use simulations and what is very important I will balance theoretical and practical parts of the courses." says Ketevan Kintsurashvili, the teacher at ATSU.


We asked Irma Grdzelidze the head of Quality Enhancement Department of ATSU, what are the changes the project brought to the University.

 

"This program helped us solve some of the long-standing problems that our university faced and at the same time, re-designed and re-focused our vocational educational programs while raising the competency of our faculty. As a result, our teaching staff has better skills. We are confident that this will be reflected in our students' interest and performance. We are now better prepared to provide them with more practical and interesting educational opportunities which will increase their chance to be competitive in the labor market. The improvement in the quality of teaching VET courses has already been reflected in the number of students who are interested in these courses. Already this year, we have received 25% more applications than last year," concludes Irma Grdzelidze.

 

Author: Ramaz Chichinadze 

 

n countries is that it does not have enough qualified specialists in the fields of agriculture, veterinary services, food industry, tourism and information technology (IT). Despite a high unemployment rate in Georgia, there are a surprisingly high number of skilled-labor positions that remain vacant because the labor force in these technical fields is undertrained and undeveloped.

 

Skills mismatch was named as one of the main causes of unemployment by the Georgia Labor Market Research (2016): "While the deficient labor demand is the primary cause of high unemployment in Georgia, the skills mismatch is a significant contributing factor."

 

The main reason for this deficiency is that few higher education institutions offer market- oriented vocational educational programs. As a result, graduates cannot develop the competencies needed to compete for the best jobs in these sectors.

 

People in Need (PIN) recognized this problem and, with the financial support of the European Union in 2015, launched the project "Improving Formal, Non-Formal and Informal Vocational Education In Georgia". This project focuses on improving the quality of vocational education for the agribusiness sector in Georgia. PIN, along with its partner - Centre for Training and Consultancy (CTC), offered support to the most prestigious educational institution in Kutaisi - Akaki Tsereteli State University (ATSU) with the specific intention to improve its vocational education curriculum.

 

Since 2011, ATSU has been offering more than sixty vocational educational courses annually. Despite the variety of vocational educational programs at ATSU, the courses were not well organized because the university did not have a strategic development plan. As a result, the university was unable to provide students with high quality vocational education courses and the enrollment in the courses was quite low.

 

A study of the ‘Agricultural Labor market in Imereti' carried out in 2016 by PIN's partner GeoWel Research in the frame of the project confirmed that high school students hold a negative opinion of vocational education. According to a survey conducted in high schools of Imereti, only 9% of the students were considering continuing their education in VET.

 

Most of the students named as the main reason of their negative attitude towards vocational education, the low quality of courses and inadequate infrastructure to develop practical experiences.

 

PIN's first step was to support ATSU in establishing a solid, manageable strategic development plan that included a detailed action plan and monitoring plan for vocational education programs. The plan is a practical guide to reorganizing, structuring and popularizing the vocational courses at ATSU.

 

Besides, in order to develop modern competencies of teaching in vocational programs, PIN and CTC conducted a series of professional developmental trainings for ATSU teachers and administrative staff that focused on the adult learners' methodology and the evaluation of modular education.

 

PIN also organized a study tour for the ATSU teachers staff in Azerbaijan, at Ganja Agrarian University, where Azerbaijani colleagues shared their experiences with their Georgian counterparts on modern approaches and methods in VET pedagogy. During the 6-day study tour, Georgian teachers learned how to organize their curriculum using modern VET teaching methodologies, how to prepare, administer, and grade tests and assignments to evaluate students' progress, and how to prepare and implement remedial programs for students requiring extra help.

 

As a result, ATSU teaching staff have improved their understanding in the methodology necessary for providing high quality vocational education courses.

 

"Training, in combination with the study tour, equipped me with the theoretical knowledge and practical skills necessary for teaching vocational courses. Now, I am better prepared to set clear objectives for lessons, taking into account modern approaches and communicate those objectives to students. Since the training, I see my role in the classroom as a facilitator, who gives a floor to students and stimulates critical thinking. I will also use simulations and what is very important I will balance theoretical and practical parts of the courses." says Ketevan Kintsurashvili, the teacher at ATSU.


We asked Irma Grdzelidze the head of Quality Enhancement Department of ATSU, what are the changes the project brought to the University.

 

"This program helped us solve some of the long-standing problems that our university faced and at the same time, re-designed and re-focused our vocational educational programs while raising the competency of our faculty. As a result, our teaching staff has better skills. We are confident that this will be reflected in our students' interest and performance. We are now better prepared to provide them with more practical and interesting educational opportunities which will increase their chance to be competitive in the labor market. The improvement in the quality of teaching VET courses has already been reflected in the number of students who are interested in these courses. Already this year, we have received 25% more applications than last year," concludes Irma Grdzelidze.

 

Author: Ramaz Chichinadze 

 

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