|Five Years Later: Reforming Technical and Vocational Education and Training in Central Asia and Mongolia (GTZ - IIEP, 1997, 136 p.)|
In all of the countries of Central Asia and Mongolia the need for economic restructuring and modernization is such that vocational and technical education must be profoundly reformed. The upheavals deriving from the transition process have made the change indispensable but difficult. Uncertainty about the future manpower requirements of business and the critical state of public finances are two major difficulties. Moreover, the emergence of unemployment is yet another challenge and constitutes an unprecedented crisis.
Of the five countries studied, four were part of the former USSR; hence they share a common legacy which can be seen not only in the composition of the training system, but also within the administrative structures and in management and decision-making processes. Though Mongolia did not have the same experience, the problems it faces are largely similar to those of its Central Asian neighbours.
The transition process places similar constraints on the five countries; this is especially discernible in declining demand for training, the financial crisis of training systems, and the deterioration of both the effectiveness and quality of training. Faced with these pressures, the authorities have endeavoured to redefine the objectives of vocational and technical education. The renewal process has resulted into a new legal framework. After this reconstruction phase, the governments first reflex was to ensure survival by devising a number of temporary formulae aimed at safeguarding the integrity of the training system. This conservative approach was accompanied by measures, some more draconian than others, which sought to reduce enrolments while initiating a process to modify the types and contents of training. In addition, an examination was made of the ways to cope with the wide diversity of requirements: initial vocational training, training for the jobless, and continuing training of the employed.
The five countries have formulated different responses to similar problems. The contrasts in approach mainly concern the institutional arrangement chosen to manage the training system, the role played by employers, the organization of teaching, and funding. Analysis of developments reveals two main trends: one reflecting a fairly harsh adjustment to the new economic situation, and the other expressing a more conservative strategy with the system still striving to reach the twofold goal of vocational training and general education.
This report is structured in two parts.
Part I gives a brief overview and comparison of the training systems in the five countries visited. It spotlights the similarities but also the specific differences between the five countries; it is both an interpretation of the present situation and an attempt to identify the main issues.
Part II includes country analyses. More than an in-depth examination of vocational and technical education in each of the countries, it puts the national situations into perspective and permits a comparative assessment.
The examination of the situation in the five countries suggested five important avenues of thought for the future development of their training systems as follows:
· the links between general education and technical training;
· management of the vocational and technical education system;
· costs and funding of the system;
· the relationship between employers and schools; and
· the organization of continuing education.
As it stands, the report is intended to be informative; but its main purpose is to contribute to the debate on the reform of technical and vocational education in Central Asia and Mongolia.