The Central Asia Education Platform (CAEP) and the Latvian Ministry of Education and Science jointly organised a Regional Conference and Workshop on Qualification Frameworks in Central Asia countries, addressing current developments and cooperation perspectives, in Riga on April 20-22, 2016.
As stated in the Joint Communiqué adopted during the Riga Ministerial Meeting in June 2015, there is a wide range of qualification frameworks globally, with Central Asia countries also developing National Qualification Frameworks (NQFs). Cooperation and exchange of experience on development of NQFs between Central Asian and EU countries promotes Higher Education and VET students’ and graduates’ mobility, as well as employability within Central Asia and within the EU countries. Therefore the exchange about and support to the development of NQFs is one major topic for the work in the Central Asia Education Platform.
The conference was opened by a series of welcoming speeches: Ms.Līga Lejiņa, State Secretary of the Ministry of Education and Science of Latvia and Mr. Eduards Stiprais, Political Director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia, were both highlighting the active role of Latvia in the platform and the intense bilateral cooperation with Central Asia countries; Mr Piotr Byczkowski, Cooperation Coordinator for Central Asia of the European External Action Service and Ms Carine Villemagne-Cros, Policy Officer of the DG Development and Cooperation at the European Commission, stressed the interest of the EU to facilitate a stronger cooperation in the field of education between the EU and Central Asia; Ms Zuurakan Kadenova, Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Development of the Kyrgyz Republic, and Mr Gani Nygymetov, President of the “Bolashak” International Scholarship Programme of the Republic of Kazakhstan, underlined the interest of their countries to strengthen the cooperation in education for the mutual benefit of students and future generation. Furthermore, all speakers expressed their satisfaction with the positive steps already taken toward a more intense exchange about education policies and approaches being supported by the work of the EU Commission, the CAEP and as part of the bilateral cooperation between EU Member States and the Central Asia countries.
In the following two days, experts and specialists from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan exchanged their views about the current status of NQF implementation or preparation for introducing similar systems in their countries with experts from the Latvia, Poland, the European Training Foundation (ETF), World Bank and CAEP experts. The experiences at national level in Central Asia were set into relation with the reforms undertaken by Latvia and Poland in the last 15-20 years to introduce qualification frameworks, addressing the challenges to be overcome and the benefits gained both for employers, students and society as whole for developing clear and transparent educational standards. Furthermore, the World Bank presented first lessons learned from their major involvement in the “TVET Modernization” and the “Skills and Jobs” Projects implemented in Kazakhstan.
The final day of the conference offered a unique opportunity to all participants to share good practice from the Latvian experience by visiting education administrations, universities, vocational secondary schools and enterprises in the cities of Jelgava and Valmiera.
“The conference was carried out at a very high professional level in terms of organisation and content provided. The welcoming atmosphere for discussions, high quality of dialogues helped in creating opportunities for sharing experience with colleagues”, said Mr Sahkhrukh Daliyev, Chief Expert of the Ministry of Higher and Secondary Specialized Education of the Republic of Uzbekistan.