“It is necessary to establish schools that teach our kids how to get maximum products from minimal work. Graduates of such schools are not a burden for the families as those graduating from other institutions. I am a university graduate and if I’m fired tomorrow, I will die of hunger, as all I know is how to be a clerk and that’s it. If I was taught to cultivate land, I could be a good clerk as well as not die of hunger without it… My opinion is that vocational school can bring more benefit…”
/Ilia Chavchavadze, 1893/
What is Vocational Education?
Vocational education is education that prepares people to work in trade, in a craft, as a technician, or support roles in various professions (engineering, medicine, architecture, law, etc.).
Vocational Education is a significant component of the education system in general and can take place at the secondary, post-secondary, further education, and higher education level. It prepares skilled and flexible workforce that is able to better adapt to the needs of constantly changing labor market.
What can Vocational Education offer?
- Mastering most demanded occupations in a short period of time (6-30 months);
- Getting education at any age, opportunities for vocational growth throughout life;
- Qualifications matching needs of Georgian and international labor markets and lifelong competitiveness;
- Modern, effective educational programs, materials and resources, trained teachers, infrastructure rehabilitated in line with European standards, and modern material-technical basis;
- Internship in various leading organizations;
- Career guidance services and better employment opportunities;
- 100% funding in government-funded institutions;
- Opportunity to live in student dormitories (in several schools).
Vocational Education in Georgia
Vocational Education has a long history in Georgia. Numerous occupations that are now taught in VET schools originate few centuries back (for example, grape-grower/wine-maker, meliorator, carpenter, tile-layer, plasterer, painter, locksmith, sculptor, textile specialist, felt production specialist, enamel artist, wood carving specialist, builder, assistant pharmacist, operator of medical and pharmaceutical equipment, perfume and cosmetics specialist, processor of stone and other materials, and many others).
Vocations were first developed within family enterprises, while paid jobs came in with the development of technologies, and finally formed into separate occupations. To complement traditional master-apprentice, during 19th century Georgian public figures helped to establish several vocational schools. Graduates of these institutions were known to be high level professionals. As large enterprises appeared, first schools appeared by factories and plants, some of which still exist and have transitioned into modern vocational institutions. From the 20th century, professional-technical schools were perceived as the place for vocational education. However, in spite of diversity of occupations taught, their popularity and prestige was low during soviet times.
For the past decade, attitude towards vocational education has changed dramatically. International donors are supporting implementation of numerous projects, focused on reformation and development of VET sector. Multiple initiatives implemented in VET sector aim to achieve compliance of the Georgian VET system with European standards and practices.
Goals of Vocational Education
As Georgia transitions into labor relations, in order to meet the needs of local and international labor markets, increase competitiveness and mobility of the local workforce, the goals of the Georgian Vocational Education System are to:
- Create unified vocational education and training environment encompassing lifelong learning principles, multi-level education opportunities, and diversity;
- Support professional development of individuals;
- Prepare market-oriented, competitive and qualified workforce;
- Support employment, including self-employment or new business generation;
Create school-enterprise partnership system within VET, support participation of employers of relevant fields in planning and implementation of vocational curriculum.
Recognition of non-formal and informal education
Latest scientific and technological innovations allow gaining occupational knowledge not only through formal educational institutions, but far beyond that, from daily interactions and events. Georgian VET system allows recognition (validation) of such knowledge. A person wishing to have his/her knowledge recognized, should address appropriate institution that will be able to test his/her knowledge, skills and competences based on pre-set criteria, and will grant appropriate certification upon validation.
Georgian VET system, in line with human rights and inclusive education principles, enables people with various physical or learning abilities or special needs to get educated in the fields of their interest.
For the past few years the concept of inclusive vocational education was defined, a package of legislative changes was prepared, mechanisms for enrollment of people with disabilities and special needs into vocational institutions, while vocational education is 100% financed by the state. The system is gradually introducing environment that is results-based, and adapted to the needs of individuals. For more information please visit www.inclusion.ge.