The EU funded Central Asian Education Platform (CAEP) project successfully conducted a Regional Workshop entitled “Teacher Policies and Quality Approaches in Central Asian Education Systems” in Istanbul on 12-13 May 2014, promoting the policy dialogue on supporting reform in the education sector between the EU and Central Asia.
The workshop took place in cooperation with the European Training Foundation (ETF) and was dedicated to the discussion of two studies prepared by EU and Central Asia based education experts on Teachers’ Policies and Training for the Secondary Education Sector, and Quality in Vocational Education and Training (VET) and Higher Education (HE) covering Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Furthermore, the project presented the CAEP mapping database containing education related projects from all Central Asia.
The conference attracted in total 58 delegates (14 from Kazakhstan, 16 from Kyrgyzstan, 14 from Tajikistan, 2 from Turkmenistan and 12 from the EU countries), including senior representatives of the Ministry of Education and Science of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan, and involved rectors, national experts, officials in higher and vocational education and training, and representatives from the employers’ associations from the above-mentioned countries as well as from the European Union.
Based on the two study reports, the discussions focused on the current challenges and developments in Vocational Education and Training and Higher Education in Central Asia. The ETF led Torino process as well as the Bologna and Copenhagen processes formed the wider background for sharing experiences and approaches to modernize the existing education systems in Central Asia. The audience concluded that Central Asian countries share common challenges, but show a different level of approach and development to tackle them. Challenges include e.g. the lack of specific teacher training policies; the partly mismatch of bottom-up experiences and top-down legislation resulting as well in implementation gaps of existing regulatory frameworks and policy approaches; a widespread understanding of quality aspects merely linked to quantitative indicators; partly lacking technical equipment in education; or the necessary linkage between labour market needs and education content provided to date in VET and HE in Central Asia.
In the plenary discussions it became evident that the challenges to be addressed could be linked with developments emerging from the Bologna and Copenhagen processes in the EU and beyond to be shared and used as a basis for further discussion in Central Asia. These developments, although covering different areas of education, were overlapping to some degree in the area of quality assurance and labour market requirements.
As an outcome of the regional Workshop, it is proposed to provide EU CAEP support to facilitate a policy dialogue among Central Asian countries and between Central Asian countries and the European Union on the linkage between the labour market / work requirements and the education system. This policy dialogue will focus on implementation gaps, best practices and peer learning and address, first, national stakeholders also on Ministry level in national workshops and, second, policy dialogue on a regional level by organising another regional event together with ETF in the end of 2014 linked to the Torino Process.
The results of this regional workshop will be used to assist in drafting an agenda for a Central Asian education ministers’ conference planned to take place under the auspices of the Latvian Presidency of the EU in early 2015.
For more information, please, visit: http://istanbul2014.caep-project.org/.