The piloting of the dual education model at the Yerevan State College of Humanities launched in 2017. Prior to that as well, the educational institution highly prioritised practical training, ensuring work-based learning for its students.
In collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport, GIZ and a number of employers, the college has accumulated a lot of experience in work-based learning and dual education.
To share this experience, to listen to colleagues and to unite all links of the field, the college organised a conference entitled “Vocational education and training opportunities and methodological solutions in tourism”. During the event, the representatives of invited state, private and educational structures spoke about the importance of work-based learning, especially in tourism, raised the existing problems and tried to find solutions together.
Mediamax attended the opening of the conference.
“We are a real force, we can support each other”
Marine Hakobyan, Head of the Department of Social Sciences at the Yerevan State College of Humanities, education expert
This event was originally intended for tourism colleges for them to meet and summarize the work carried out in recent years. Today, we have invited representatives of 18 colleges from different regions of Armenia to share the experience of the College of Humanities, listen to their experience, raise and solve existing problems. Each of these institutions has in one way or another implemented the dual education model or work-based learning, but we have never gathered together to understand how we can support each other. The key goal of the conference is to create the atmosphere of partnership.
Among the invitees also are the representatives of all those structures which initiated and promoted the reforms in the field of vocational education: the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport, GIZ, as well as employers actively working with us.
Today the representatives of regional colleges are here and using this chance, I want to stress that we all have the opportunity to do more in the regions. When speaking about the development of tourism in this or that region we often hear: “there is no tourism agency in our region, we cannot develop the sector”, and this is in the case when there are nature reserves, museums, ancient sites, guest houses and other necessary infrastructure. Another problem in the regions is the difficulty to find knowledgeable, qualified, young specialists of the sector. This issue can be solved only with the right educational approach. We will talk about all these issues, we will share our experience, we will state that we are a real force and can support each other. We also invited representatives of 3 universities and the Tourism Federation.
“Vocational education is of great importance for Armenia”
Taguhi Ghazaryan, National Assembly deputy
I am a member of the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Science, Education, Culture, Diaspora, Youth and Sport, and I would like to say that the work done in the field of vocational education and training is very important for us. In the education development strategy we have outlined the introduction of active cooperation models between the secondary vocational education institutions and the business. Discussions are currently underway.
The labour market all over the world is mostly replenished by the graduates of colleges and universities, that is, most of the workforce receives secondary vocational education, and for Armenia as well this is very important. We need to provide the labour market with qualified staff and in this regard the cooperation between the educational and business sectors will be quite useful for the future of Armenia.
“Implementation is much more important than just the adoption of the document”
Armenuhi Poghosyan, Head of the Department for Preliminary and Vocational Education and Training Department of the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport
Such platforms are important as they facilitate dialogue with partners, especially from the private sector, as the latter is one of the pillars of vocational education. To provide the labour market with qualified professionals, educational programmes should be based on the needs of the private sector.
As we know, the ministry initiated elaboration of the Education development plan, which has already been adopted by the National Assembly. Along with this, the government has another important document - the new law “On Vocational Education and Training”. These two documents reflect all the reforms carried out in the field of vocational education and training in recent years. I want to single out the key provisions included in these documents.
The new law stipulates the introduction of broader, flexible and “playing” mechanisms of cooperation with the private sector. The state educational development programme also includes a number of measures to engage and integrate the private sector in the field of vocational education and training. The organization of this event is a good precedent and I hope other educational institutions will follow this example.
Such platforms for dialogue are of great significance, as no matter how good the documents are developed, in the end, it is the educational institution that implements what is written on paper. If the necessary quality is not ensured at the implementation level, the document will remain just a document.
“We want to share our experience”
Mariam Minasyan, Director of Yerevan State College of Humanities
Since 2015, the Yerevan State College of Humanities has started providing education in the field of tourism with a dual pilot model. With this conference, we wanted to share our years of experience, talk about the results of work-based learning, cooperation with private organizations, the existing difficulties and recorded success.
I hope we will have an active discussion that will result in getting important information, which, in its turn, will contribute to educating highly qualified specialists.
“The tourism sector has great potential”
Aram Babayan, “Private Sector Development and Technical Vocational Education and Training in the South Caucasus” (PSD TVET) programme Team Leader Armenia.
Usually such discussions are organised by international organisations and I am very happy that in this case the initiative comes not from us, but from an educational institution.
I think we can move forward in the field only if we listen to one another and share the experience, especially if we are talking about the introduction of dual educational programmes. Here it is very important to properly understand each other’s needs.
As we know, GIZ has been supporting the implementation of dual education programmes in Armenia since 2017 and works both with the private sector and educational institutions. We are well aware of the challenges and difficulties.
We should realise that the introduction of any new programme first of all implies a change in mindset: a private organisation may ask why should it become a part of the educational process and assume that responsibility. To answer these and other similar questions, great bilateral work is needed in order to form the perception that education is a joint work and stems from the interests of both parties.
As for tourism, GIZ implements many projects in this direction, especially in regions. The issue of qualified specialists is much more acute there and we must solve it.
One of the biggest problems is how to motivate schoolchildren to choose this particular direction. It is important to understand that work should not only be interesting and attractive, but also provide sufficient payment.
Through the tourism sector we present our country to the tourists coming to Armenia and through them to the world. I think this sector has a huge potential in Armenia but it is not being fully used. Now, for example, we are focusing on the wine sector, making it a stimulus for the development of the general tourism sector.
“Tourism is a powerful tool”
Mekhak Apresyan, President of the Armenian Tourism Federation
To have in-demand personnel in the field of tourism, all stakeholders must be engaged in the development and implementation of educational programmes.
We should be able to benefit from tourism, not suffer losses from it.
We all know that tourism is a powerful tool that can solve economic, social, cultural and political issues. The correct use of this tool can help us solve problems. For this, we need to have a single policy.
Photos by Emin Aristakesyan