The Institute for International Cooperation of the German Folk High School Association (Deutscher Volkshochschul-Verband e.V. - DVV), in cooperation with the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation in Kosovo, Swiss company SmartBits and Kosovo Career Development Foundation, organized the Lifelong Learning Week during 23 – 26 November 2021.
The Lifelong Learning Week has been organized since 2005, in order to analyze the current state of adult education in Kosovo and to identify further necessary steps for development based on the implementation of the Framework for Action which was adopted by delegates of the sixth International Conference on Adult Education (CONFINTEA VI).
This year, the Lifelong Learning Week was organized on physical presence according to the decisions of the government in compliance with the COVID-19 containment measures. This event brought together various stakeholders in the field of education in the Republic of Kosovo, respectively leaders of educational institutions, policymakers, representatives of national and international non-governmental organizations, and representatives from the business community to discuss issues of lifelong learning and adult education.
The activities of this organization included the central conference in Prishtina and two other conferences in the regions of Prizren and Peja, as well as the last day where training providers in Kosovo had the opportunity to register on the digital platform www.trajnimet.info. During the central conference organized by our company, the global trends of adult education were discussed and the definition of objectives of adult education in the Strategic Plan for Education in Kosovo (PSAK) 2022 – 2026 was elaborated. Furthermore, the launch and presentation of digital the platform for the provision of lifelong education and findings from the study on adult education in Kosovo were held. In addition, the skills of the future and finally the challenges for further development of adult education and better liaison of training providers with businesses were discussed with the invited stakeholders.
Many findings, lessons, recommendations, and practices were exchanged and as such they are part of this report. We remain hopeful that such an impactful event will ease the decision- and policy-making for our public institutions as well as other stakeholders.
About the Organization
The DVV International Country Office in Kosovo has been working in the field of adult education since 2005. The scope of the organization focuses on advancing and supporting local structures for adult education, as a contribution to social and economic development in Kosovo.
The main focus of the work of DVV International in Kosovo is the training of teachers in the methodology and didactics of adult education, in order to contribute to quality improvement. In particular, training of secondary school teachers for non-formal education and vocational training centers, improvement of curricula and programs for adult education and better cooperation between competent ministries, NGOs and private training institutions are the main focus of DVV International's engagement in this sector.
Participants and speakers from various institutions such as MESTI, Agency for Vocational Education and Training and Adult of Kosovo (AVETAE), Employment Agency of the Republic of Kosovo (EARK), VET schools, private training providers, international organizations, Vocational Training Centers (VTCs), civil society, and Career Centers participated to discuss issues related to lifelong learning and adult education.
Topics elaborated within the scope of LLL Week
Global trends in adult education and CONFINTEA - VII preparatory processes
The central conference was opened by MESTI representative, Mr. Lah Nitaj, and followed by a presentation by DVV International, where the importance of adult education was discussed as an essential element of the right to education and the design of a new and urgent course of action to enable all young people and adults to exercise this right. Among others, it was mentioned that in 2009, UNESCO released the first global report on adult education and training (GRALE) to establish a global agenda for the development of adult education and to monitor the progress of countries in the implementation of Framework for Action (CONFINTEA - Framework for Action - Bélem Framework for Action- BFA).
Furthermore, it was discussed about the financing of adult education in Kosovo, as a major challenge, given that less than 1% of the budget is allocated to this important sector. Among others, inclusion, equality, and the quality of adult education are matters that require attention and continuous development. The latter is achieved only through capacity-enhancement of teachers, the improvement of learning environments, the empowerment of individuals and communities, and through a proper evaluation and monitoring system. Achieving these improvements also requires coordination of priorities and policies between relevant ministries and agencies.
Lifelong Learning in Kosovo
In the second presentation during the central conference, the importance of lifelong learning was discussed by Ms. Ryve Prekorogja – Representative from MESTI. A special emphasis was attributed to the legislation on adult education, where, among others, the legal basis governing adult education was mentioned, such as the Law on Education and Vocational Training, the Law on the National Qualifications Framework, the Labor Law, the Law on Youth Empowerment and the Law on Adult Education.
Representatives from MESTI showed the support that this institution provides for adult education by informing the participants about some projects that MESTI has implemented in this area, such as: education for women and girls (grades IV), illiteracy project for the blind, development of curricula for compensatory education (grades VI-IX) for adults, vocational education and training in all vocational schools, etc.
Digital Platform for Lifelong Learning Providers
Our Swiss company SmartBits with the support of DVV International has developed the digital platform www.trajnimet.info. This platform is designed so that those interested can find information in one place, on all possible training, retraining, and skills programs. Representatives from SmartBits presented some statistics which noted that less than 10% of students who finish school continue the learning process throughout life, as well as highlight the importance of the developed platform by presenting that 79% of people spend their time searching on various websites courses and trainings, while through this platform the results can be found in just a few minutes.
The platform was also welcomed by the representatives of MESTI, who stressed that such a database helps this institution to understand the offer of non-formal education and, consequently, contributes to better and informed decision-making of public institutions.
Skills of the Future
The next presentation on the central conference focused on the skills of the future and the factors that are influencing these significant changes in the required skills. Entrepreneurs from the field of IT were invited to discuss this topic, where factors that are influencing the determination of future skills were mentioned, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, demographic development, globalization, digitalization, green economy, automation and robotics, artificial intelligence and the internet of things.
According to the World Economic Forum, 50% of all employees will need retraining by 2025, as according to studies and trends, the fourth industrial revolution which is taking place and will take even greater proportions in the coming years, will transform 1/3 of all jobs over the next decade.
Quantitative Study on Adult Education in Kosovo
In the last presentation for the first session of this conference were presented the findings from the survey on adult education in Kosovo by representatives of the Riinvest Institute. This study is of great importance for adult education in Kosovo as it is the first survey that assesses adult participation in formal and non-formal education in Kosovo, and its methodology is based on EU standards for statistics related to adult education.
During the presentation were shown some of the main findings of this survey, where from 2,391 respondents, most were in the age group 25 - 34 years, who also showed the highest percentage of migration for at least 6 months. Through the findings presented, the reasons for non-participation in formal education were understood, where the main reasons were family obligations and the lack of need for formal qualification in the current job. As for non-formal education, most of the respondents stated that they have attended mainly courses and with a smaller percentage stated that they have attended private lessons. The reasons for participating in non-formal education were to improve career prospects and do a beter job.
In conclusion, representatives from the Riinvest Institute showed that according to the survey, the tendency to migrate remains one of the biggest challenges for the labor market in Kosovo, women show more interest in learning opportunities and the most common non-formal learning activity among young people is learning using computers, while the most common activities of the older age group are learning through television / radio as well as through printed materials.
Defining the Objectives of Adult Education in PSAK 2022 – 2026
During the second session of the central conference, the Strategic Plan for Education in Kosovo 2022 - 2026 was elaborated, during which the implementation structure of this plan was presented, then moving on to the thematic areas for pre-university education, vocational education and training and adult education, as well as for higher education. The fourth thematic area discussed was the digitalization of education.
During this session, participants had the opportunity to engage in discussion, where they stressed that the separation of vocational education and adult education is necessary. The main arguments in this regard were that the focuses are different and that the strategies should be distinguished accordingly. It was also stressed that adult education should be considered only one element in lifelong education.
Further, participants from policy-making institutions indicated that their goal is to formulate adequate policies and find mechanisms for subsidizing businesses in order to increase the motivation to cooperate with vocational education and training providers. This is because one of the key problems of education is the mismatch between the supply of vocational schools and other education providers and the demand of the labor market. Consequently, the participants concluded that it is necessary to reform vocational education and review the law on adult education, as well as to validate the strategy for adult education by the commission appointed by the MESTI.
Recommendations and Conclusions
From the topics discussed throughout the Lifelong Learning Week in Kosovo 2021, participants gave some recommendations and conclusions that will serve for policymaking in order to improve the current situation in the adult learning education sector in Kosovo.
The following are some of the key findings from the first day of the conference:
- Separate vocational education from adult learning education, so that the focus and strategy are in line with their needs.
- Better coordinate ministries, public-private partnerships, public and civil society sectors, NGOs, and associations.
- Invest more in adult learning education by creating opportunities for various research and to increase the quality of adult education.
- Advocate about the importance of lifelong learning.
- Develop an agenda of cooperation with all the stakeholders in the field of adult learning education.
- Develop key competencies for lifelong learning based on the EU set targets for implementing education in the European area by 2025.
- Promote the Training.info platform which is accessible and easy to search.
- Develop a tracking system within the Trajnimet.info platform on registered candidates that will serve policy-making institutions in reporting and monitoring.
- Understand the serious implications that migration will have for the Kosovo labor market.
- Invest in future skills building as McKinsey says the need for manual and physical as well as basic cognitive skills will decline, but the demand for technological, social and emotional skills and higher cognitive skills will increase.
- Provide quality and attractive vocational education and training, which facilitates the transition from school to work and lifelong learning.
- Increase opportunities for qualification, retraining, progress and mobility within the lifelong learning and adult learning education system.
- Establish an education system for lifelong learning and accessible and affordable adult learning education.
- Help set up businesses through lifelong learning.
- Monitor the progress of teacher training and demand accountability from the latter.
Appendix A: Conference Participating Institutions and Organizations – Day I
- After School Support for Teens (ASSET) Project of USAID
- Agency for Vocational Education and Training and Adult of Kosova (AAAPARr)
- Austrian Development Agency (ADA)
- BIT Kosova
- CSR Kosovo
- DVV International
- Employment Agency of the Republic of Kosovo (EARK)
- HELVETAS / EYE Project
- Independent Experts
- Kosova Education Center (KEC)
- Kosovo Career Development Foundation (KCDF)
- Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI)
- Municipal Career Center of Prishtina
- Riinvest Institute
- VET School “Shtjefën Gjeçovi”
Appendix B: Marketing Materials Developed
You can download the marketing materials via this link: https://we.tl/t-tk6f909sMt