Today, Piotr Antoni Świtalski, the EU Ambassador to Armenia announced the EU-funded programme of “Better Qualifications for Better Jobs”, with a budget of €15.2 million for the years 2017-2019.
Commenting on the programme the Ambassador said, "Our agenda is clear: we need to take action and work together in order to make sure that young people and their skills are at the heart of inclusive growth. With the right skills, young people are better prepared for active citizenship; they have a better chance of finding and keeping a good job; and they are better equipped to set up their own business - and in turn, to create jobs for others".
The main implementers of the programme are the Ministry of Education and Science, the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, the Ministry of Agriculture, as well as private sector organisations and social partners. This programme seeks to improve the efficiency of Armenia's labour market and the employability of its workforce, with a particular emphasis on agricultural employment.
The announcement coincided with the official opening of a Social Enterprise printing house at Armavir State Art College within “Social Innovations for Vocational Education and Employability of Young People with Disabilities” (SIVEE) project financed by the European Union and implemented by Save the Children in Armenia. The SIVEE project has reported tangible results in creating equal employment opportunities for youth with disabilities through promoting social innovation in Armenia’s VET sector. Within this project 40 students with disabilities have received vocational training at the Armavir State Art College. Five of the alumni have already been employed at the printing house. Overall seven regional colleges and five social enterprises have been established where 25 young people with disabilities currently work. This sets an example of how vocational education, employability and inclusiveness can be achieved and practiced.
Both the VET Reform Forum and the Opening of the Social Enterprise took place as part of the “Learning is Cool” campaign initiated by the European Union Delegation to Armenia. Running from 9-13 October the campaign promotes the outcomes of the EU-Armenia cooperation in the sector of education and employability through a series of events and highlights the value of lifelong learning for the citizens of Armenia.
This budget support programme highlights the impact of EU-Armenia cooperation in the education sector and aims to assist Armenia in connecting vocational education and employability with a special focus on employment in agriculture. It includes budget support component of €13 million to meet the VET sector priorities identified by the European Union and the Government of Armenia and a complimentary support component of €2,2 million reserved for capacity building and review of the programme implementation. The programme agreement was signed by Christian Danielsson, the European Commission’s Director General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations, and Suren Karayan, Minister of Economic Development and Investment of the Republic of Armenia under the Financing Agreement ENI/2015/038-246 in Brussels.
The Learning is Cool campaign kicked off with a field visit workshop on organic farming for VET students in Lori region, organised by the EU-funded Organic Agriculture Support Initiative (OASI) project implemented by Austrian Development Agency (ADA). Dasaran.am holds a case-study workshop for teachers incorporating group-works, discussions, interactive methodologies and a presentation of the EU-financed E-Stat Diagnostic Tool on Public Education. The campaign includes also a seminar on Diploma mills and Fraudulent Qualifications and a training of about 50 academic staff and students from higher education institutions within the EU and CoE funded Strengthening Integrity and Combatting Corruption in Higher Education project.
EU4Education in Armenia:
For the past 14 years, the EU has been actively supporting Armenia’s reforms in educational system on all levels. As of 2016, about 4,500 students at 17 pilot colleges in all regions of Armenia and Yerevan benefited from the EU-supported VET reforms. The EU new “Better Qualifications for Better Jobs” programme of €15,2 mln. for VET reforms seeks to assist Armenia to improve efficiency of its labour market and the employability of its workforces, with a focus on agriculture as a priority sector in Armenia. The programme was publicised during the VET Reform Forum at Armavir State Art College. The latter provided a platform for sharing the best practices and challenges of implementing VET reforms in Armenia.
The EU-funded Dasaran.am platform promotes innovative learning methods and makes them accessible for all school children of Armenia.
Erasmus +, the new EU programme targeting Education, Training, Youth and Sport for the period 2014-2020, provides university students and faculty with an opportunity of exchanging knowledge and experience at leading European universities. By the end of July of 2018 about 700 students and professors from Armenia will have received EU grants to study and teach in Europe.
“Strengthening Integrity and Combatting Corruption in Higher Education in Armenia” project, co-funded by the EU and Council of Europe, aims to strengthen integrity and fight corruption at higher education institutions by fostering effective implementation of the Armenian Government’s Anti-Corruption Action Plan 2015-2018.