This month saw the fourth meeting of the Working Group on Evidence Based Policy making in Higher Education (HE) and Vocational Education and Training (VET) take place in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
The meeting was attended by delegates from Ministries of Education and Labour and educational institutions in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, along with education experts from the EU and representatives from CAEP and the European Training Foundation (ETF).
The aim of this working group is to enhance Central Asian countries’ capability and use of evidence for policy analysis and policy making in the fields of VET and HE. The initiative is based on the policy learning methodology and is being developed and implemented by CAEP and ETF, building on ETF’s experience with the Torino Process.
This fourth meeting was dedicated to evidence on the transition process, covering specifically the topic of career guidance. Transition is considered a particularly pertinent topic as it is closely connected to the issue of employability; requires the co-operation of both Ministries of Education and Labour, and employer organisations; has been identified as important by Torino Process members in Central Asia; and has an EU level dimension.
After introductions from Christine Hemschemeier, ETF, and Christian Wagner, CAEP, and a recapitulation of the key aspects of the evidence cycle, representatives from each of the five CA countries presented an existing overview of career counselling in their country and relevant issues and challenges. This was followed by a case study from Latvia, presented by Aleksandra Joma, which focused on the concept of lifelong career development within the EU and the role of employment services.
The second day saw delegates work together in country teams to map career guidance in their respective countries, looking especially at the infrastructure, roles and current challenges. Participants later worked in mixed groups to discuss how to reach out to three specific groups which have until now not been very well represented within the VET system; women and girls, people with special needs and NEET (young people Not in Education, Employment, or Training).
Finally, on the last day, the delegates reconvened in their country teams to identify evidence gaps in career guidance in their countries and report back on what they had learned from the meeting and what activities they were planning as follow-up.
The 5th, final meeting of the working group in October will look at graduate tracer studies; the importance of systematic data collection in the tracking of graduates has also been highlighted as crucial to enhancing employability in the region.
The agenda and downloadable materials can be found on the event page.