News archive - Conclusions of the Regional Workshop for Senior Officials and Experts on Cooperation around Clusters of Knowledge

On December 14-15, 2010 representatives of Ministries for Education, Science and Research from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, the Republic of Moldova, Montenegro, Romania and Serbia, as well as representatives of the European Commission (EC), the European Training Foundation (ETF), the Centre for Education Policy on behalf of the Education Reform Initiative of South Eastern Europe (ERI SEE), the OECD, the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) and the RCC Task Force Fostering and Building Human Capital (TFBHC) gathered for a regional workshop on cooperation around clusters of knowledge. Next to the main issues of Vocational Education and Training (VET) and National Qualification Frameworks (NQF) also issue of evidence based policy making - innovation in education and education for innovation has been discussed.

Inputs and discussions on policy dialogue and peer learning confirmed the necessity of enhanced dialogue among EU member states and SEE partner countries in the field of education and training, in particular in view of creating a platform for mutual learning, disseminating examples of good practice, increasing quality and performance, bridging the shortage of expertise in particular policy areas and supporting reforms in national education and training systems overall.

The workshop enabled a platform for discussion on existing cluster proposals in the field of Vocational Education and Training (VET) and National Qualification Framework (NQF) development. Concrete thematic cluster subtopics, activities and funding option were identified by representatives of SEE region and initial cluster consortia created.

The cluster on “Modernising the VET system – improving performance, quality and attractiveness of VET”, proposed by the Romanian Ministry of Education, Science, Youth and sports and being lead by the Romanian National Centre for Technical Vocational Education and Training (NCVETD), will initially be joined by Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Moldova and Montenegro. Working group participants decided for an in depth cooperation in the field of (1) quality assurance and evidence-based policies, (2) social partnership in VET and (3) EU instruments for VET and further agreed to develop handbooks as outcomes of the cooperation. Synergies with the SEE-VET.NET of the ERI SEE shall be ensured and regarding financial implications it was stipulated that NCVETD will cover the costs for accommodation and meals, whereas participating countries or organizations will cover costs for international transport from their own sources, from ERI SEE, TAIEX or other funds. The proposed timeframe encompasses a period from 2011-2012, whereas a first meeting, aimed-at developing a more structured framework is envisaged to take place by the beginning of 2011.

The Croatian Ministry of Science, Education and Sports has taken the initiative to lead a regional cluster on the Development of NQF, the aim of which is to heighten understanding, enhance expertise and identify partnerships in three specific segments: (1) Cooperation on self-certification process (quality assurance assessment); (2) Recognition of prior learning – RPL (validation of informal and non-formal learning) and (3) Comparability of qualifications. A format and timeline for activities by segment has been proposed by Croatia and agreed upon by participating countries, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Moldova, Montenegro and Romania. The planned activities are to be mainly in the form of expert meetings and workshops, whose exact concept and form will subsequently be elaborated among regional partners.

Both clusters are open to participation of interested countries and organizations and will strive to generate concrete outcomes.

Besides concrete cluster proposals Serbia evinced interest in regional cooperation the field of evidence based policy making and announced that a regional event under the working title “Evidence Based Policy Making in Education: Turning Research into Practice – Learning from PISA” is planned to take place in the first half of 2011, in Belgrade. This event will be supported by the TFBHC and shall facilitate a discussion on an additional cluster of knowledge and the development of a concrete regional project.

Referring to the Europe 2020 Strategy and the recently adopted EU Enlargement Strategy, the relevance of the TFBHC`s clusters of knowledge was stressed, in particular at the time of the new “ET 2020” framework and the “Western Balkans in 2020” process, in which the TFBHC shall be actively involved. The TFBHC and its clusters of knowledge shall play a crucial role in associating regional initiatives with Europe 2020 and its key flagship initiatives that embrace education and training (Youth on the Move and The Agenda New Skills and Jobs). This would provide better insight at the level of development of policies, secure better translation of regionally-agreed reforms to the national level, improve programming of IPA towards Europe 2020 goals, prepare countries for obligations of membership, raise awareness on the importance of the strategy for reform processes and increase the role of the RCC.

Progressively including SEE countries into the EU cooperation framework and networks (e.g. Open Method of Coordination, Eurydice, Lifelong Learning Programme) is of high importance for the region in view of better using scarce resources, benefiting from the flexible and rich in outcome cooperation mechanisms, reinforcing focus on regional Multi-Beneficiary IPA cooperation and furthering innovation in education and training.

Participants welcomed the TFBHC`s proposal of enhancing regional cooperation through clusters of knowledge and expressed commitment to furthering cooperation, which shall contribute to the creation of knowledge, support policy development, policy in action and policy evaluation. The EC expressed willingness to support this process and the RCC invited SEE countries to get actively involved in cluster activities, based on thematic areas proposed and lead by the SEE region.

Download Conclusions in PDF: EN

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Geographical focus
  • SEE

Entry created by Elke Dall on January 15, 2011
Modified on January 25, 2011