The Prime Minister's Advisory Council (PMAC) have established the Technical and Vocational Education and Training Aid Coordination Group (TVET ACG) with the support of the UNESCO Iraq office and with funding support from the European Union-funded TVET Reform Project. The TVET Aid Coordination Group is an ad-hoc advisory (non-decision-making) forum established by the Government of Iraq with the purpose of coordinating the work of international partners in the field of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) to ensure the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.
The Government of Iraq has been working to reform the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) sector with the intention of improving its relevance, coordination and alignment with the needs of the labour market. The work has culminated in the drafting of a TVET Law that will give rise to an overarching TVET Council with a strategic planning and coordination role as well as being responsible, working with line ministries, for amongst others a Technical and Vocational Qualifications Framework, quality assurance and accreditation, funding and capacity development for the sector.
The first meeting of the TVET ACG was attended by senior Iraqi TVET officials and a wide-ranging group of international partners. Participants included representatives of the Prime Minister's Advisory Council (PMAC), the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (MoLSA), the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research (MoHESR), the Ministry of Education (MoE), the Ministry of Planning (MoP) and the Ministry of Finance (MoF). International partners in attendance included the UNDP, ILO, European Union, the French Embassy, the Embassy of Finland, KOICA, Ernst and Young/EDJADA, GIZ, Canadian Embassy/BRIDGE-project and World Bank. A subsequent meeting will include representatives of the private sector. The meeting discussed the TVET reform programme, new governance arrangements, future needs and developments in the sector and the implications arising from the process to decentralize TVET within the MoLSA.
In his opening remarks, Dr Hamid Ahmad, the Deputy Chairman of PMAC and the Co-Chair of the TVET Reform Project Steering Committee stressed that "Technical and Vocational Education and Training in Iraq is one of the main sectors contributing to the development of Iraq. Therefore, it is necessary to invite all relevant international organizations and donor countries to join the TVET Aid Coordination Group to ensure effective and integrated coordination of programs provided to the sector; to avoid the overlapping or conflicting programs; and to better meet priority needs in accordance with a clear and comprehensive vision to promote the TVET sector for the development of Iraq".
"UNESCO Iraq is pleased to have been asked to support this valuable government initiative. TVET is increasingly seen as a vital part of an integrated solution for job creation and sustainable livelihoods. Government's commitment to the TVET reform agenda has caught the attention of international partners and there is a willingness to improve coordination across the sector so that collectively we can maximize the impact of our work with the government, training providers and the private sector" said Louise Haxthausen, Director of the UNESCO Office for Iraq.
Technical and vocational education and training (TVET) is an important factor in sustainable economic development and income generation in particular in Iraq with its economic dependence on oil production and unemployment rapidly growing in the country. UNESCO, with the financial support of the EU, is implementing a project entitled "Reforming Technical and Vocational Education and Training in Iraq" to make TVET a key driver for Iraq's economic development, by increasing its competitiveness and relevance in line with international standards. One of Iraq's main development challenges is youth unemployment, currently at around 18% for ages 15 to 29. A large number of Iraqi's youth are seeking jobs in the public sector, but with limited capacity for job creation and a restricted number of available career posts, there is an urgent need to develop alternative employment opportunities in the private sector. The project represents a key initiative to make the private sector the nation's main employer and equip Iraqi youth with the skills and qualifications necessary to meet the job market demands.