Reforming the Technical & Vocational Education Sector
lThe main providers of the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) sector in Iraq are the General Directorate of Vocational Education (GDVE) in the Ministry of Education, the Foundation of Technical Education, and Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (MoLSA).
GDVE is responsible for 250 vocational schools offering training and equipment to secondary schools (grade 12). These schools accommodate about 25,000 full time students annually. Overall, more than 95% of all technical and vocational training in Iraq is provided by public schools. The Foundation of Technical Education of the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research is in charge of technical education at higher level.
The Directorate of Employment and Training of MoLSA has the political mandate to carry out the training and further education of unemployed youth and adults and redundant soldiers. It has access to a total of 16 Skill Centres for the purpose of training the above-mentioned target groups. These Skill Centres offer non-formal trainings beyond the formal educational system under the Ministry of Education. As such, the qualification needs of disadvantaged persons can be fulfilled very flexibly. Cooperation with the MoLSA guarantees appropriate access of the target groups. The “Employment” division, which is affiliated with the MoLSA, has the exclusive task of finding employment for graduates.
A major problem of the current Technical and Vocational Education environment is its fragmentation and the uncoordinated management and administration of each sub-system. There is a lack of an institutional framework to organize, articulate, integrate, regulate and ensure the quality of training interventions and programs. This often leads to unnecessary duplication of efforts, and ineffective use of scarce training resources. In addition, the centralized decision-making structure in the Vocational Education System, coupled with generally weak management capacity at school level, contributes to the inefficient use of resources.
The TVET Programme, which is jointly implemented by UNESCO, ILO, and UNHABITAT, was designed to support the rehabilitation and modernization of the Technical and Vocational Education and Training sub-sector in Iraq by re-orienting and improving the TVET system so that it prepares young people effectively for wage and self-employment in the industrial, construction and service sectors of the economy.
Major components of the programme, on which UNESCO is currently working, include the following:
- Design of a TVET policy document aiming at guiding the TVET sector reform and streamlining the TVET sub-sector in light of the labour market requirements.
- Development and adoption of organizational reform plans for individual TVET schools, institutes, colleges and training centers to facilitate the implementation of the changes in the TVET system.
- Development of a TVET programme Review and Renewal plan.
- Implementation of a short-cycle modular training “Skills for Work” programme consisting of modular training in selected vocational skills that are in high demand in the labour market, in order to achieve quick impact in terms of youth employment and self-employment.
- Establishment of contract training centres (CTCs) in three pilot governorates as pilot Business Units within the Foundation of Technical Education (FTE) in order to capture industries’ needs.
- Introduction of an apprenticeship vocational system for 6 selected disciplines at 6 pilot schools in order to demonstrate best practice-based approaches.
- Upgrading of the quality and relevance of vocational programmes in pilot MOE schools, FTE/ MOHESR colleges and MoLSA centres.
- Improvement of TVET equipment and ICT infrastructure through procurement of workshop equipment and computer labs.
To date, UNESCO implemented a three phase Governance programme which resulted in designing a new governance model for Iraq and an action plan to ensure that the new model is endorsed by the Iraqi Government and implemented. The main focus was on four main components; namely Governance, Organizational Framework, Quality Assurance, and Performance Assessment.
One of the TVET programme's objectives is to have the Organizational Reform Plans developed and adopted in individual TVET schools, institutes, colleges and training centers by training senior Iraqi National Experts in the three ministries. This will facilitate the implementation of the changes in the TVET system. The TVET programme also aims to design a Program for Review and Renewal Framework and to produce a Manual for the Development of the TVET System in Iraq.
Vocational and Technical skills provision is being enhanced in all TVET public structures by conducting a short-cycle modular training “Skills for Work” programme, consisting of modular training in selected vocational skills that are in high demand in the labour market, in order to achieve quick impact in terms of youth employment and self-employment. Three contract training centres (CTCs) were established as pilot business units within the Foundation of Technical Education (FTE) in order to capture industries’ needs.
UNESCO is also working to upgrade equipment in all three ministries according to needs of the stakeholders.