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Three proposals from PIAROM for a real reform of technical and vocational education system

de Vladimir Ionescu 27.3.2017

The Romanian Local Investors Employers – PIAROM calls on the authorities to quickly adopt concrete supportive measures for involving the private capital in the technical and vocational education in Romania.

In a press release issued Thursday, PIAROM mentions that these measures should target the educational process, as well as a revision of the classification of the professional qualifications, the process of establishing realistic numbers of student places and adapting the curricula to the labour market realities.

The press release states: It is noteworthy to mention that, because of the perpetuating bureaucratic system, insufficiently connected to the employers’ requirements, the presence of the private capital in the technical and vocational education system is at the lowest level among all types of secondary education.

Out of 20,716 students enrolled in the vocational schools in the 2016/2017 final year, only 422 (2.03%) are from the private education system, while only 405 (0.72%) of 55,560 graduates of the technical high schools from Romania are enrolled in private schools.

PIAROM fully supports any measures to stimulate the involvement of the private capital in the technical and vocational education and in this context, we consider that the regulations on the dual education are definitely an important step forward. On the other hand, we consider that attracting the employers in this education system implies, first of all, a greater responsibility and an active attitude of the authorities. In this respect, PIAROM calls on the authorities in charge to quickly adopt at least the following three measures:

  • Quick revision of the methodology for setting the numbers of student places in the vocational education and technical education system. We mention that the current methodology, based on centralizing the requests of the education institutions that use data more or less adapted to the reality, has generated significant imbalances at the regional level. We emphasize that there are counties where, for certain professional qualifications, there are more graduates every year than the jobs available on the market for the respective professions. We mention that the authorities have the most objective tool at hand to assess the needs in terms of workforce, but also its dynamics, namely the REVISAL application; however, the data obtained from this application are not used in an effective manner to validate the matriculation figures;
  • Changing the methodology for assessing the socio-professional integration of the graduates of the technical and vocational schools. PIAROM considers that evaluating the graduates’ integration into the labour market is the only objective way to assess how realistic are the matriculation figures and the quality of education. Currently, such assessments are conducted only based on questionnaires implemented in some pilot counties, which generates additional costs for authorities, as well as a high level of subjectivity. Again, PIAROM wants to draw attention to the role of the REVISAL application, the only objective tool that allows an updated analysis of the labour market. We ask the competent authorities to take the necessary steps to fill the REVISAL application with information regarding the professional qualification of the employees, as well as the diploma/certification based on which an employee works (the education institution from which the employee graduated, graduation year and professional qualification).
  • Changing the procedure for evaluating the technical and vocational education institutions. We consider an evaluation of these institutions from the perspective of their capacity to meet the requirements of the labour market, namely the socio-professional integration of the graduates, objectively assessed, as mentioned above, through the REVISAL application. It is noteworthy that PIAROM is the first NGO in Romania that conducted a study on the employment structure in Romania at the regional level, based on the REVISAL data provided courtesy of the Labour Inspection. The study reveals some trends in the evolution of the labour market in Romania, such as the decreasing number of employees in jobs that require higher education, the increasing share of unskilled labour in the total workforce or the exacerbating regional imbalances in the distribution of specialists, but the current structure of the REVISAL data do not allow an analysis in relation to the actual employees’ level of qualification and the schools from which they graduated.

We believe that the three measures mentioned above are vital for a real reform of the technical and vocational education system and determines the successful implementation of the new regulations on the dual education.

At the same time, increasing the accuracy and completeness of the records from the REVISAL application would allow a much better adaptation of the education system to the labour market requirements, by defining new professional qualifications, as well as offering a real basis for the matriculation figures or using the integration of graduates into the labour market as a criterion for evaluating the education institutions.

Not less important, we stress that analysing the structure and trends of the labour market in Romania, based on data obtained from the REVISAL application, should be taken into account in drafting and implementing any public policy that has an impact on the business environment and the regional development. We consider that a homogenous development of the workforce, correlated with the competitiveness areas and the investment priorities of Romania, is possible only by having a complete knowledge and awareness of the labour market realities, including the correlation with the education system structure at the regional level.

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