The impact of the proposed Strengthening Private Sector Participation in Technical and Vocational Education and Training Project (the project) project will be a national workforce with an increased proportion of skilled workers employed in Tajikistan. The outcome will be a demand-driven, quality-assured, and flexible TVET system responsive to labor market needs.
The project comprises four outputs, as follows: (i) TVET system methodology modernized; (ii) physical learning facilities in selected TVET institutions upgraded; (iii) access to quality TVET programs improved; and (iv) governance and management of TVET system strengthened. These are explained below.
Output 1: TVET system methodology modernized. Under this output, the project will develop competency standards and assessment tools aligned to an adapted European Qualification Framework (EQF). Competency-based training (CBT) curriculum and gender-sensitive learning materials will be developed, and competency assessors for 17 occupations will be trained. The occupations have been selected based on the government's development priorities, a labor market survey conducted during project preparation, and inputs from key stakeholders. An implementation plan for the development of the CBT components has been developed involving industry sector working groups, training providers, and development partners. Guidelines and manuals will be prepared to promote future sustainability and institutionalize tasks related to development of competency standards, qualifications and curriculum. The Center for Training Methodology and Monitoring of Education Quality (CTMMEQ) under MOLME will take the lead in implementing Output 1. The project will build CTMMEQ capacity through staff development, physical facilities upgrading, and a learning resource center to supply standards, curriculum, learning materials and references for accessibility to a broad base of users. The project will also support the establishment of a longer-term twinning partnership between CCTMEQ and the Workforce Development Agency of Singapore
Output 2: Physical learning facilities in selected TVET institutions upgraded. The CBT curriculum and learning materials will be piloted in 29 TVET institutions. Of these, 11 are specialized lyceums for agriculture, construction, tourism, service, energy and transport. The project will strengthen the core programs in these lyceums to serve as resource centers for other lyceums in their respective sectors in the regions. The other non-specialized lyceums offer diverse programs needed in their respective regions. They were selected based on a set of criteria and procedures agreed upon by MOLME and ADB. One central adult learning center (ALC) was selected in each region. The project will upgrade the physical learning and teaching facilities of the selected TVET institutions, including supply of modern training equipment needed to introduce and support the delivery of the proposed CBT curriculum. The project will support gender-appropriate upgrading of dormitory facilities, which will increase access of female students to formal TVET, particularly those from remote areas. The detailed design also introduces integration of modern technologies and techniques for local energy and water supply, and efficiency measures that ensure optimal and green energy and water use at selected lyceums. This clean energy component, cofinanced by the Clean Energy Financing Partnership Facility, serves a dual purpose of improving site energy use and overall habitability and demonstration value of the technologies to TVET students in priority energy sector occupations. The clean energy technologies used in civil works for selected site upgrades will be integrated into TVET teaching courses for these occupations, giving students the skills to support further clean energy rollout in Tajikistan.
Output 3: Access to quality TVET programs improved. The project will develop an in-service TVET Teachers Training Plan, providing existing teachers and masters with (i) a clear understanding of the CBT methodology; (ii) the development of required competencies in student-centered training delivery; and (iii) practical knowledge and skills in respective technology areas of specialization through industry internships. The Engineering Pedagogical College in Dushanbe (EPCD) of the MOLME is mandated to lead the implementation of the in-service teacher training for primary TVET. The project will strengthen the capacity of EPCD in carrying out this task through staff development and upgrading of physical facilities. The project will also provide EPCD with a learning management system to deliver teacher training courses using information and communication technology-based learning and blended classroom techniques. The project will strengthen the capacity of CTMMEQ in competency assessment and certification not only for graduates of lyceums and ALCs in CBT courses, but also for walk-in workers, particularly migrants who have acquired practical skills through actual work experience overseas or in the domestic economy. To increase access to relevant and quality TVET, the project will develop and implement a Market-Responsive and Inclusive Training Program (MRITP) designed to make the project more inclusive. It will extend the reach to the disadvantaged and vulnerable, as well as providing flexibility in responding to urgent skills needs of major investment projects. To address the issue of girls' limited access to TVET and gender segregation of occupations, the Gender Equity Model Program (GEMP) will be piloted in five selected lyceums. This pilot will encourage girls to pursue non-traditional occupations in the lyceums, aiming to improve their skills and employability as well as their incomes. The pilot's design will include improved curricula and learning materials for a number of pre-selected courses, increased number of female model teachers, well-equipped classrooms and workshops, and secure, appropriately furnished female sections of dormitories. The project will also involve intensive and ongoing stakeholder consultation on this area.
Output 4: The project will support: (i) establishment and operation of industry advisory committees in selected TVET institutions; (ii) establishment and operation of industry working groups and later Industry Associations in the 5 priority sectors; (iii) training in modern TVET management for selected TVET institutions; (iv) strengthening of the secretariat of the National Coordination Council for Vocational Education and Training (NCCVET) headed by the Deputy Prime Minister; (v) provision of equipment for the Scientific Research Institute on Labor, Migration and Employment under the MOLME to support annual labor market assessments; (vi) a social marketing program for TVET; (vii) development and implementation of the project monitoring and evaluation (M&E) and the management information system (MIS); and (viii) designation of a regional resource center (RRC) in each region to facilitate coordination and ensure efficiency in project implementation.
|Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy
The project aims to respond to the needs of Tajikistan. The project will empower the country's unemployed and underemployed youths and adults to take advantage of employment and income opportunities in domestic and international labor markets through provision of quality training. A key feature of the project is the institutionalization of mechanisms for engaging the private sector in technical and vocational education and training (TVET) at the policy and operational levels.
The challenge in reducing poverty remains daunting. The official unemployment figure is low at about 2.2% over the past decade but it masks a high rate of underemployment, particularly in the rural areas with seasonal activities. In addition to the existing stock of largely unskilled labor, some 150,000 youth without employable skills enter the labor force every year. At the same time, a number of jobs in industries remain unfilled due to lack of qualified and skilled applicants. Lack of opportunities, particularly for the unskilled, forces many to seek employment overseas. Annually around 800,000 Tajik workers find work abroad, over 90% in Russia. In 2014, remittances of these workers amounted to $4.2 billion or almost half of GDP making Tajikistan the most remittance-dependent among the developing countries. The role of migrant workers therefore is critical to the economy at this stage of the country's development.
While employment through international migration is very important, the workforce needs of the local industries are a key focus as these ultimately provide a sustainable solution to the perennial problem of underemployment and poverty in the country. A major challenge is how to ensure an adequate supply of trained workers to meet the requirements of both overseas and domestic labor markets. This responsibility falls on the country's education and training system, more specifically the TVET system, which unfortunately does not meet expectations.
Tajikistan's network of TVET providers comprises public institutions including: (i) 63 primary vocational education schools (now called lyceums) and 49 secondary vocational education schools (now called technical colleges) under the Ministry of Education (MOE); and (ii) 30 adult learning centers with 40 branches in the districts under the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection (MOLSP). The National Adult Training Center (NATC) in Dushanbe serves as the model and as a central resource center.
The lyceums offer 1-2 year courses with an enrollment of 23,857 in 2012. Technical colleges offer 2 to 4 year courses with 40,095 enrolled during the same school year. Both the lyceums and technical colleges also offer short courses (3, 6, 9, and 12 months) and trained 47,000 youths and adults in 2012. The adult learning centers offer only short courses and trained 53,000 in 2012. Women comprise about 30% of the total enrollment. About 30-40% of the students in long courses and majority of trainees in short courses pay for the cost of training which provides the TVET institutions a significant source of revenues to augment their limited budget and increases the sustainability of the system.
The TVET system however faces major constraints including outdated curriculum and learning materials, obsolete and inadequate equipment base, dilapidated school buildings and unmaintained and damaged dormitories, teachers and masters advanced in years with little staff development and succession planning, little or no linkage with industries, absence of modern approaches to school management, and continuing underinvestment in TVET in general. While a large number of graduates are produced each year, they lack modern skills and qualifications relevant to the labor market demands. In the Global Competitiveness Report (World Economic Forum, 2010-11), the 'poor work ethic in the national labor force' and the 'inadequately educated workforce' ranked 5th and 6th, respectively, among the most problematic factors in doing business in Tajikistan, reducing the country's competitiveness and acting as binding constraints to economic growth.
The Government of Tajikistan (the government) has taken certain initiatives to address the dire situation of the TVET sector. In 2012 the government approved the 'State Program to Reform the TVET System, 2013-2020' outlining the different strategies and programs that need to be undertaken in a coherent and coordinated manner to reform and modernize the TVET sector. Its implementation requires political will and continued support from development partners. The project aims to fully support of the government's TVET reform program. With its emphasis on private sector development and reducing the cost of doing business, it is also consistent with ADB''s Tajikistan Country Partnership Strategy, 2010-14.