National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia / Activities / Activity details
25 February 2016 Participants of the public hearing on “Dual education in the function of better employment - pros and cons”
Thursday, 25 February 2016
Public Hearing on Dual Education
The Committee on Labour, Social Issues, Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction organised a public hearing today, at the National Assembly, with the topic “Dual education in the function of better employment - pros and cons”.
The participants of the public hearing agreed that the Serbian education system and economy necessitate a dual education model that will result in a lowering of unemployment, especially among young people and difficult to employ categories, and develop a tie between labour and education and respond to future needs arising from the free movement of labour force resulting from Serbia’s EU accession. The full inclusion of dual education in Serbia’s system of education and economy requires defining the needs of the economy and adjusting them to the educational profiles, and passing a clear legislative framework defining the standards and evaluating the effects of dual education. The participants announced the adoption of a systemic law to regulate the area, and a law on insurance against work-related injuries that would cover children, for the needs of dual education.
Dr Vesna Rakonjac, Chairperson of the Committee on Labour, Social Issues, Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction, said that the experiences of countries which already have a functioning system of dual education such as Germany, Austria and Switzerland could help Serbia realise this model which is right now at the level of pilot project. She added that 80% of students in Germany educated according to this model after graduation from school find employment with the same employer, and that the Swiss dual education system recognises over 150 educational profiles. Although dual education mainly promotes three-year schooling, it can be applied to all educational levels, added Rakonjac reminding that today’s public hearing should prompt a debate on how to, among other things, adjust the education system to the needs of the economy in Serbia and how to reduce unemployment among the young population.
The results and experiences concerning the process of introduction of dual education so far were presented by representatives of the Ministry of Labour, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs, National Employment Service, schools involved in the pilot project, Serbian Chamber of Commerce and regional chambers, non-governmental and civil sector, and international organisations GIZ and KAS.
Dragica Ivanovic of the Ministry of Labour, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs, presented the characteristics of the Serbian labour market, declaring them unfavourable and unsuitable. A third of the unemployed people have no qualifications, while only 14% have a higher education degree. Employers are mainly dissatisfied with the new workers’ knowledge and skills and lack of work experience, which all provides a good basis for the development of employment measures. She opined that the purpose of introducing a dual principle is to improve the practical part of teaching and to attract employers.
Radovan Zivkovic of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development, reminded the attending of the realisation of entrepreneurship education in Serbia which has given good results and opined that the dual education model would be a good choice for the country. He stated that the employers’ dissatisfaction with the quality of the workforce on offer is a global phenomenon, characteristic for all countries in the world. Zivkovic also reminded that the realisation of the so-called cooperative training is underway, which is part of dual education modelled after Germany and Switzerland, and the first generation of students educated according to this model will be graduating this year. The programme has so far covered 10 schools, and their number is expected to rise to 14 by the end of the year, added Zivkovic. He opined that the jobs for the students after they have completed their education should be accredited and adequate, and the schools should complete all vocational programmes. The instructors/mentors who help the students gain the necessary skills for certain jobs in the companies should also be the focus of attention which is why the role of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce is very important in the process, opined Zivkovic.
Tanja Ilic of the National Employment Service presented the key characteristics of the unemployed registered with the Service and the employers’ employment needs. She spoke of programmes the institution offers to the unemployed through work and training so that they could gain the skills and knowledge necessary to find a job more easily. She said that at first they were programmes developed as corrective measures for the system of formal education, while now they mainly focus on additional training programmes. She listed the results the National Employment Service achieves through employer-requested training which leads to new employment, trainings for the labour market relating to informal education and work engagement trainings which are basically gaining practical skills at the employer’s companies.
Mirjana Kovacevic of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce Education Centre presented the organisation’s engagement on and interest in the introduction of dual education system in Serbia. She stressed that in the last years entrepreneurs complain of inadequate staff on offer on the labour market and wish to move beyond this problem. Entrepreneurs are very interested in taking part in the education of young people following the principle applied in Austria, added Kovacevic. She stated that dual education as a model does not focus solely on production-related professions, but opens up a variety of possibilities for professional and personal progress and development. In the dual system, before enrolling into school, the students already have a guaranteed job i.e. on enrolment they actually apply for a job. This also obligates the employers to give a job to these students, therefore the company is obliged to sign a contract with the student, stated Kovacevic. Both the entrepreneurs and vocational high schools are interested in taking part in the dual education model, which requires the development of a new network of high schools, innovation of the curriculum and improvement of student practice programmes, concluded Kovacevic. She added that the needs of the economy are being analysed at the moment, as well as the number of people who want to support this modes, followed by the standardisation of job profiles, training of mentors for work with children, development of contract models which need to be harmonised with the Labour Law, etc.
Sinisa Kojic of the Polytechnic School Kragujevac spoke of the problems faced by the schools which are part of the pilot project, with a special focus on the safety of the children on practice, enrolment plan which does not correspond with the needs of the economy and development of new educational profiles.
In the ensuing discussion the participants said that each side in the process of dual education should find its own interest so that none are imposed on it, they spoke about the formation of clusters modelled after other European countries, potential effects of dual education on long-term reduction of poverty in the country, inclusion of wider expert and scientific public in the process, support of foundations from countries already conducting dual education, effects of the dual model on difficult to employ population categories such as persons with disabilities, etc.
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