In Iraq, UNESCO started in 2021 the Phase 2 of the project “Job Creation through Technical and Vocational Education System Strengthening & Labour Market Linkages” aiming to help creating sustainable jobs in a country where unemployment rates are high, and more than half of unemployed people are young people.
Working in partnership with government and the private sector, Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) is about assisting people acquire knowledge and skills for the world of work. Like other components of the education system, TVET focuses on meeting the needs of learner, but its focus on the world of work means that it is also focused on meeting the needs of employers - ensuring the current and future workforce is skilled, productive and ready for work. Overall, the project aims to improve the relevance of the TVET system in Iraq to equip all youth and adults with the skills required for employment, entrepreneurship and lifelong learning. Additionally, the project contributes to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and in particular Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 4.3 and 4.4.
Based on the results of the ‘Reforming TVET in Iraq’ project phase 1, the phase 2 will strengthen the Ministry of Education and its Directorates and the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research systems for managing the quality of Technical and Vocational Education to ensure increased employment of graduates, better labour market alignment and the active participations of the Private sector.
Results of Phase 1
This project is based on the first TVET reform program implemented by UNESCO from 2015 to 2020. Phase 1 of the TVET Reform Programme supported the development of national level education and training policy and systems, including TVET quality assurance system and TVET qualifications framework. Based on a study of the skills needed in the labour market, Phase 1 of the Programme developed occupational standards, curricula and teaching materials for training at secondary and post-secondary level in the fields of construction, agriculture and hospitality. In Higher Education, the focus of Phase 1 was on the tools for aligning programmes with the Bologna process and gaining insight into the application of the Bologna process in a European university.
The Phase 1 of the TVET reform programme made significant progress in respect to:
- Mapping new coordinated institutional arrangements for TVET
- Developing a national Technical and Vocational Qualifications Framework
- Developing and piloting guidelines for Quality Assurance and Accreditation of TVET
- Undertaking comprehensive labour market and skill analysis
- Developing a framework for private sector participation in TVET
- Developing competency-based curriculum for 3 sectors and 4 levels and piloting modules at Level 1
- Improving the quality of careers guidance in TVET
- Developing, at scale, the capacities of existing officials, institutional leaders, teachers and trainers across the TVET system
- Raising public awareness about the important economic role played by TVET sector.
Phase 2 of the TVET Reform Programme will strengthen and consolidate the policy and systems developed in Phase 1 by embedding them in Federal and local Directorate policies; and through their application at provider level, focussing on five MoE vocational schools in five governorates and four universities in four governorates. These nine institutions will be the focus for applying the policy and systems outputs of phase 1 of the programme, and working intensively with Ministries, local Directorates and local school and university staff to develop centres of excellence as a model and resource for other institutions and other governorates.
Phase 2 will have a clear focus on the “School to Work” transition for trainees graduating from the selected institutions, and on increased participation of women and people with disabilities.
The economic sectors selected for Phase 2 are agriculture, construction and hospitality (same as Phase 1) with one additional sector (ICT), based on the evidence of the need for ICT competencies in the labour market and sector skills analysis carried out in Phase 1.
- Workshops for Ministry of Education and its Directorates staff on quality assurance for vocational schools
- Carry out audits on 5 vocational schools and set action plans for improvement.
- Formation of a labour market working group from Ministry of Education with international expert(s) to carry out and publish 4 labour markets surveys for the economic sectors in each governorate.
- Develop new competence-based curriculum and training materials for these economic sectors based on the labour market surveys.
- Train the trainers to use these new materials and in competency-based training methodology.
- Pilot these new courses in the vocational schools.
- Upgrade the workshops in the vocational schools to allow practical training and assessment.
- Set up and resource career development centres in the vocational schools as well as sectorial councils with the private sector.
- Work with the 4 technical universities to align selected degree programme curricula and assessment methods to international standards using the Bologna Process.