The impact of the proposed Strengthening Technical and Vocational Education and Training Project (the 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. 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 a twinning partnership with a reputable foreign workforce development agency. The CBT curriculum and learning materials will be piloted in 29 TVET institutions. The project will strengthen the selected TVET institutions' core programs to enable them to serve as resource centers for other TVET institutions in their respective sectors.
Output 2: Physical learning facilities in selected TVET institutions upgraded. The project will upgrade the physical learning and teaching facilities of the selected TVET institutions. The design of rehabilitation works takes into consideration teaching requirements, student needs, and environmental and social safeguards. In three project sites, green reconstruction and power approaches will demonstrate options for general building rehabilitation, and help train teachers and students in green reconstruction. The project will also support gender-appropriate dormitory upgrades, which will help increase female student access to formal TVET system.
Output 3: Access to quality TVET programs improved. The project will develop an in-service TVET teachers training plan to provide teachers and masters with a clear understanding of the CBT methodology, competencies n student-centered training delivery, and practical knowledge and skills in respective technology areas through industry internships.
Output 4: Governance and management strengthened. The project will support the establishment and operation of industry advisory committees and working groups in the five priority sectors; training in modern TVET management, strengthening of the secretariat of the National Coordination Council for Vocational Education and Training; provision of equipment for the Scientific Research Institute on Labour, Migration and Employment under MOLME to support annual labor market assessments; a social marketing program; development and implementation of the project monitoring and evaluation system; and designation of a resource center in each region to facilitate coordination and ensure efficient project implementation. A skills conference in year 4 will showcase CBT achievements.
|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.