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Nikos Manolopoulos: "Quality of short-term education in Kazakhstan is at a high level»

Courses of design, accounting, foreign languages - is a simple and relatively inexpensive way to gain new knowledge and improve own chances of employment, and therefore they are in demand among the population. At the same time, educational activities in the form of short-term courses will not be covered by licensing in Kazakhstan, so it is difficult to assess the volume of this market and determine how effective the services provided are. However, this task was set before the experts of the project "Development of labor skills and stimulating jobs", which is implemented by the Ministry of labor and social protection of population of RK. During the year, a team of international experts identified and evaluated short-term training providers, thus laying the foundation for the systematization of this market in Kazakhstan. How and why this work was carried out, says doctor of science of information technology of the University of Stuttgart (Germany), international expert of the project "Development of labor skills and stimulating jobs" Nikos Manolopoulos.

Mr. Manolopoulos, what was the purpose of the assessment? What is its result?

The purpose of the prequalification assessment of short-term training service providers is to establish a national register of such providers, which function as officially registered organizations and meet certain standards, that is, can provide high quality services. Using this register, the state will be able to select such suppliers for the implementation of republican training programs. At the state level, special funding programmes can be developed to support short-term training providers to increase the number of suppliers on the register. The suppliers themselves can improve the quality of their services based on the results of the assessment – for example, to improve the organizational structure or technical equipment to become more popular and competitive. Ultimately, improving the quality of short-term education will also bring benefits to employers, as the number of skilled workers increases with the quality of education.

What was the scale of the assessment – how many organizations and which regions were covered? How much is this number out of the total number of such organizations in Kazakhstan?

In total, we directly applied to 623 organizations, and 557 of them agreed to be evaluated. The assessment was conducted throughout Kazakhstan. Since no such work had been carried out previously, it was impossible to say what percentage of suppliers had been covered. However, thanks to our work, we now have an idea of the approximate number of organizations in RK that conduct or intend to conduct short-term (1 to 6 months) training. The formation of such a list is one of our tasks, though not the main one. 

What gave the passage of the assessment procedure to the educational organizations and their customers?

Assessment is one of the effective tools for improving the quality of services offered by training organizations. Regardless of the results, the assessment allows organizations to take a different look at their organizational structure, technical and staffing, professional orientation of training courses and trainings to change something for the better, to improve. As for the customers of such organizations, they primarily benefit from improving the quality of educational services, as better training gives them more chances of successful employment.

What parameters, criteria the assessment was carried out on?

In total, we used 13 criteria in the assessment process. We studied the courses offered by suppliers and training programs on them, methods of selection of these or those training courses, their duration and flexibility of the training schedule, system of an assessment, level of qualification of teachers, existence at them of certificates. We looked at whether there was a link between the training organization and employers, what employment opportunities there were for those trained, and what percentage of those who dropped out of courses before completing them. Attention was paid to the pricing policy of suppliers, its adequacy to market conditions. An important criterion was the equipment of organizations - the availability of libraries, laboratories, special equipment. Among other things, training methodologies and financial management of the organization were assessed. 

How do you assess the results of the assessment – at what level is the quality of short-term training in Kazakhstan?

According to the results obtained so far, 76.5% of suppliers have passed the assessment successfully and received the status of "approved". Another 18.9% received a "pre-approved" rating, meaning they can move into the category of approved short-term training providers with minimal effort, through minor improvements. Only 4.7% of the organizations assessed were not approved. This situation indicates that the quality of short-term training in Kazakhstan is at a fairly high level. 

Are the results of the assessment public – where can they be found? What is the practical value of this work for citizens of Kazakhstan? 

According to the task set for us, we will notify the assessed suppliers of its results on an individual basis. Organizations that received "pre-approved" and "unapproved" status will receive targeted recommendations on the measures they need to implement in order to get "approved" status in the next assessment. For the population of the RK, the result of this work will become tangible and practical when this first attempt to systematize the market of short-term courses becomes a continuous process, that is, the assessment will be carried out regularly. This will bring the market of short - term education for adults to a new, higher level of quality and make it an effective tool for the state to fight unemployment, increasing the level of skills of the population and improving competitiveness.

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Assessment within the project is ongoing. We invite short-term training service providers of Kazakhstan offering or planning to offer training and/or courses from 1 to 6 months duration to participate in the assessment remotely, through online interview. There is no assessment fee charged to training providers. For more information visit the web site http://stsp.kz/ or contact by phone +7 (7172) 972036 (int. 207,208,209,210,211).

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