Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Support Program 2023
Department of State U.S. Mission to Georgia
A. PROGRAM DESCRIPTION Background: Georgia’s Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) reforms are aimed at supporting socio-economic development, poverty reduction, and developing human capital to meet the needs of the labor market. Thus far, reform has primarily focused on identifying labor force needs and reducing the mismatch between supply and demand, to reduce overall unemployment and increase the employment rates of TVET graduates. Self-employment (mainly underemployment in subsistence agriculture) and high urban unemployment remain major economic challenges. Gender balance is a significant challenge to the development of an inclusive TVET system and a barrier to women’s labor force participation. Community or family beliefs undermine the potential role of women in contributing to sustainable and productive livelihoods. Gender stereotypes about the kinds of work women and men ‘should’ do limit students from pursuing satisfying careers in non-traditional areas. Negative gender norms and beliefs hold back girls and women from applying for traditionally male-dominated trades in lieu of female-dominated trades, which may not necessarily lead to profitable work. We face the same problem with female dominated fields where negative gender norms are affecting boys and men’s decisions to follow some specific career paths. In general, gender-specific differences are most pronounced in the education, health and welfare disciplines, which are clearly dominated by women. In contrast, men dominate in engineering, manufacturing, construction and services (Geostat, 2018). Culturally, a negative stigma affiliated with TVET harkening back to the Soviet Union, has become a significant barrier for the much-needed program. TVET is not considered a desired or first-rate career path. There is a prevailing belief that TVET qualifies graduates for low status, manual, and poorly paid jobs. Employers do not trust vocational qualifications. Vocational counselling and career planning services are an essential element in the country’s education and training system. Although some reforms have been started towards this direction, still counselling and guidance remain at a basic level, mainly due to insufficient staffing. As a result, students in primary and secondary education, young people and parents making important life decisions do not always have enough information on the available educational and occupational choices and they often have to make uninformed decisions. Weak career guidance is followed by weak support for job search and job intermediation, especially for young people as they enter the labor market for the first time. The analysis shows that young people (and especially young women) face obstacles transitioning to the labor market. This includes inflation of qualifications, lack of trust of vocational qualifications, preference for higher levels of education, work experience requirements, and the mismatch of skills between supply and demand. In spite of the high level of unemployment, employers find it difficult to locate the personnel they require. Program Objectives: The objectives of the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Support Program 2023 are the following: · Developing systematic vocational counselling and career guidance from school to higher education level for all learners, jobseekers, and alumni, for better informed career decisions and higher access to labor market. · Mainstreaming gender in TVET – integrating gender perspective in all policy planning, implementation, and evaluation activities at all levels. · Increasing the participation of female students in formerly male-dominated TVET programs and promoting formerly nontraditional TVET programs to both, female and male students to overcome discriminatory cultural norms and community practices so that women and men benefit equally from the same opportunities. · Strengthening the capacity of TVET providers to overcome gender disparity in student recruitment and retention. The Public Diplomacy Section (PDS) of the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi will accept projects proposed and managed by Georgian TVET institutions that support the above listed objectives. B. FEDERAL AWARD INFORMATION Length of performance period: up to 2 years Number of awards anticipated: 2-3 awards Expected size of individual awards: Up to $100,000 Total available funding: $210,000 Anticipated project start date: October 1, 2023 Funding Instrument Type: Grant.