The most important changes in Vocational Education and Training and Lifelong Learning are the following (law 4763 / 2020):
Linking vocational education and training with production and the labor market
A 12-member Liaison Council for the Production and Labour Market is established in each region of the country. The mission of the Liaison Councils is to offer consultation to the Central Council for Vocational Education and Training on issues in vocational education and training, as well as special courses, programmes and activities, in addition to the core curricula.
Model Vocational High Schools
It is possible to establish or categorise Vocational High Schools as model schools.
The purpose of Model Vocational High Schools is:
- The development of one of the main pillars of support and implementation of the joint strategic planning of vocational education and training. Social partners are significantly involved in the planning process;
- strengthening the degree of autonomy of the vocational education units, with representatives of the local community holding an active role;
- promoting educational research in practice, in collaboration with Higher Education Institutions and departments of the country, teaching of the individual subjects, as well as organisation, administration, evaluation and management at school-level relationships;
- developing research and European and international collaborations;
- training teachers in the subjects taught. Training is assisted by local higher education institutions and companies;
- pilot implementation of:
- new curricula
- modern educational material
- innovative teaching practices
- programmes for evaluating the quality of the educational work and infrastructure of the school units in terms of materials and equipment
- new models of school administration and operation and good practices in teaching methods and internships
- trial introduction of new professional fields and specialisations prior to their broad employment;
- harmonising professional fields and specialisations with the needs of the local community, the aim being to provide internships and professional rehabilitation of graduates.
As to the remainder, Model Vocational High Schools serve, alongside other schools, the purposes of Vocational Education.
The reform took several sources into account:
- the recommendations of the European Commission related to skills development,
- the European Framework for Quality and Effective Apprenticeship Schemes,
- the Draft Recommendation concerning Vocational Education and Training,
- the European Semester,
- the European Skills Agenda,
- CEDEFOP studies,
- social partners, etc.
The aim of the reform is a new educational example, which:
- On the one hand, will produce multi-level professional qualifications and strengthen human resources to enter the labour market with high expectations.
- On the other hand, will use three basic institutions, in a rationalised way and within a feedback framework:
- 3 parts (state, students / trainees / employees, employers),
- a mechanism for monitoring and weighing of professional qualifications and
- certification of specific qualifications that will enhance the growth potential of businesses and the economy in general and increase productivity as well as economic growth.
An institutional change concerns the scope of formal education:
- Second Chance Schools,
- Vocational Training Institutes,
- Vocational Apprenticeship Schools of the Manpower Employment Organisation and the apprenticeship year now fall into the scope of formal education, while non-formal education comprises Lifelong Learning Centers and Colleges only.
Post-Gymnasium Vocational Eudcation and Training
Vocational Training Schools and Vocational Apprenticeship Schools of the Manpower Employment Organization
Post-gymnasium vocational education and training, level three - (3), is provided by the Vocational Training Schools and the Vocational Apprenticeship Schools of the Manpower Employment Organisation.
The purpose of the above-mentioned schools is:
- the provision of initial vocational education and training services to compulsory education graduates or equivalent;
- tackling school dropout, basic skills upgrading for compulsory education graduates or equivalent and integrating them into the labour market;
- care for the integration of vulnerable social groups in professional life as regards Vocational Training Schools;
- in particular, Apprenticeship Vocational Schools of the Manpower Employment Organisation provide post-gymnasium vocational training of level three (3), applying the binary system, which combines theoretical and laboratory classroom training plus work-based apprenticeship.
Vocational Training Schools can be public or private, day or evening.
Central Council for Vocational Education and Training
At the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs and in particular at the General Secretariat for Vocational Education, Training, Lifelong Learning and Youth, a Central Council for Vocational Education and Training is established. The Council’s mission is to submit suggestions and recommendations to the Minister of Education and Religious Affairs as regards the planning of vocational education, training and lifelong learning policies, in particular in relation to the promotion of knowledge and sustainable development, the utilisation of human resources potential and the connection between education and the labour market and employment.
Central Scientific Committee
At the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs, a Central Scientific Committee is established, which scientifically supports the General Secretariat for Vocational Education, Training, Lifelong Learning and Youth, as well as the Central Council for Vocational Education and Training. Its mission is that of scientific research, study and documentation on issues related to improving the quality and effectiveness of vocational education and training, as well as lifelong learning programmes.
Establishment of Experimental and Thematic Vocational Training Institutes
The option to establish public Experimental Vocational Training Institutes and Thematic Vocational Training Institutes is provided. The mission of the Experimental Vocational Training Institutes is to promote the development and pilot implementation of an innovative operating model based on special specifications, in particular as regards the educational methodology, teaching staff, core specialisations, teaching materials, infrastructure, laboratory equipment and quality management systems. The specific mission of a Thematic Vocational Training Institute is the pilot development and promotion of vocational training specialisations that correspond to a targeted development sector of the economy, while applying innovative operating methods and adopting international good practices.