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Estonia helps to renew vocational education in Ukraine

On May 22, principles of reforming vocational education, which were the result of cooperation between Estonia and the Volhynia region of Ukraine, were presented at the Ministry of Education and Research of Ukraine. In the framework of the development co-operation project, a model has been prepared, upon which it will be possible to innovate in the Ukrainian vocational education system.

Innove, the Volhynia region, and five Estonian vocational schools worked closely together for two years; both the Ministries of Education of Ukraine and Estonia and the European Training Foundation (ETF) were involved. During the project, several study trips took place to Estonia and Ukraine, where Estonian schools shared their experience with Ukrainian colleagues in terms of school management, curriculum renewal, and teacher training. The aim was to create a learning environment for the renewal of vocational education at both the school and oblast level, involving employers and the Ministry. The result is a systematic approach that can be used to reform vocational education. A follow-up project is also being designed that will support the next two regions of Ukraine in reforming vocational education.

“We do not copy the experience of Estonia; we are looking for our own path of development. But, thanks to our Estonian colleagues, we have acquired motivated leaders and teachers who are ready for change and new challenges. We are grateful for direct experience in areas such as quality assurance, lifelong learning, and job-based learning. We now understand better what a modern learning environment should be like, one that would meet the requirements of both the individual and society,” says Zoja Parfenjuk, director of the Vocational Training Center of the Volhynia Region.

Lea Orro, the head of Innove International Cooperation Center, summarizes the experience as follows: “During the project, many pieces of training and discussions took place, and it is a pleasure to point out that we have succeeded in inducing a change of mindset in the attitudes of the Volhynians towards teaching, collaborating with partners in the labor market and managing the school. But we have also learned ourselves, in particular, in terms of how teaching can be conducted if all you have are minimum resources.”

Two years ago, under the leadership of the Innove Foundation, a development co-operation project “Sharing Estonia’s Experience in Support of Ukrainian Vocational Education Reforms in Volhynia Region” was funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Estonia. The partner of the project was the Estonia-sized Volhynia region  located in western Ukraine, with which a model for reforming vocational education was developed. The model was presented at the Ukrainian Ministry of Education and Research, describing the steps taken and the perspectives that could serve as a basis for further development and planning of vocational education.

The Innove Foundation promotes the field of general and vocational education, provides career and recruitment services through the all-Estonian Pathfinder network and mediates grants from the European Union.

More information about the project HERE.

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