2021 saw the beginning of the new regional project, led by the Education Reform Initiative of South Eastern Europe (ERI SEE) Secretariat: Enhancements in the Quality of Education and Training in South Eastern Europe (EQET SEE). The project officially started on 1st October 2021, and is expected to last until 30th September 2024. It is financed by the Austrian Development Agency with funds from Austrian Development Cooperation, with the total budget of around 2 mill EUR, and co-financed by ERI SEE.
The EQET SEE project will aim to contribute to the reduction of youth unemployment in South-eastern Europe by supporting the development of labour-market oriented, socially inclusive and high-quality education in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo*, Moldova, Montenegro, the Republic of North Macedonia and Serbia. The project is the continuation of recently finalised Towards Regionally Based Occupational Standards – TO REGOS.
The project is implemented in cooperation with the strategic partners, ministries of education, OeAD and Standing International Conference of Inspectorates (SICI), local partners European Training Foundation and WB6 CIF. At national level, the project will be implemented by VET agencies and chambers of commerce and quality assurance (QA) agencies in pre-tertiary education from the region.
During the project partners will explore different ways to contribute to acquisition of relevant skills among students and teachers and to building the quality culture at school levels, through developments of envisaged project outputs: regionally-based occupational standards and qualification standards, integrated into nationally-adopted versions; national curricula integrating work-based learning elements, teaching and learning material for teachers and company instructors, and accompanying trainings. In addition, the project tends to develop regional recommendations for external evaluators’ standards, with accompanying trainings, and regional recommendations for processes of external evaluation of institutions, supporting the enhancements in quality culture at school levels.
The project will focus on increasing the labour market relevance of VET provision and enhancing quality assurance (aspects of external evaluation of institutions) in pre-tertiary education, through two components: VET and QA.
The first, VET strand of the project, will aim at reaching the following objectives:
- Improved national curricula that integrates work-based learning elements and are based on regionally agreed occupational standards and qualification standards, relying on labour market relevant skills and learning outcomes through:
- Improving cooperation between business and education sector in VET at regional and national level
- Developing and adopting labour-market oriented, regionally based occupational standards
- Developing and adopting regionally based, equitable inclusive and sustainable qualification standards with labour-market relevant learning outcomes
- Developing and adopting curricula incorporating WBL, equality and sustainability relevant attitudes
- Increased competences of teachers, mentors and company instructors for the implementation of national curricula integrating work-based learning elements through:
- Developing teaching and learning material
- Developing regional guidelines for implementation of the WBL components in the curricula
- Developing quality assurance recommendations for the implementation of curricula with work-based learning equality and sustainability elements
- Developing and implemented training modules for trainers for teachers, company instructors and school coordinators.
In order to improve quality analysis and use of evidence for policy making, strengthen the quality culture at the school level and quality of work of external evaluators in pre-tertiary education in the SEE region, the QA strand of the project is focused on:
- Supporting external quality developments and quality culture at the school level, through the revision of QA (external evaluation) methodologies, accompanying instruments and tools, and
- Supporting internal quality developments at the quality assurance agencies, through regional quality standards, procedures and trainings.
Expected project outputs of the QA component are:
Revised QA methodologies, accompanying instruments and tools, including
- Implemented collaborative activities between schools, QA agencies and other stakeholders
- Developed regional methodology of external evaluation contributing to quality culture
- Piloted methodology at a sample of schools
Developed regional quality guidelines, procedures and trainings for quality agencies, including
- Developed regional competence standard for external evaluators
- Developed regional training modules for external evaluators
- Developed regional guidelines for HR procedures regarding external evaluators (including evaluation, recruitment, initial training, continuous professional development etc.).
The regional outputs will be adjusted for national use and integrated into national practices.
* This designation is without prejudice to positions on status and is in line with UNCSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.