Georgia’s vocational educational program is based on occupational and vocational standards. The occupational standard describes the skills, knowledge, and competency that a person engaged in a particular professional activity should hold. Occupational Standards are market-oriented.
- Market research has been undertaken to study the needs of the market in terms of qualifications and competency.
- Sector committees have been set up to develop a general qualifications system.
- So far about 75 occupational standards have been prepared in the most economically advanced fields in Georgia: tourism, agriculture, and construction.
- Currently, work on occupational standards is continuing under the guidance of the Ministry of Education and Science.
The Vocational Educational Standard is a document that defines the demands of the vocational educational program and rules of its development. The Vocational Educational Standard was approved by the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia in 2008; the document was prepared by the Legal Entity of Public Law (LEPL) and National Curriculum and Assessment Center (NCAC).
The main criteria that vocational educational programs have to meet are:
The law acknowledges two types of vocational education and training (VET): Vocational education and training (craftsmanship or occupational education) and professional higher education. Vocational education and training can be acquired after completion of the basic level of general education and professional higher education after completing the general education in full. The duration of VET educational programs does not exceed two years and the programs are mostly delivered at VET centers. After completion of a VET program graduates receive a specialist’s certificate. General and higher education institutions with an appropriate license are also authorized to carry out VET programs. A professional higher education can be acquired at a higher education institution according to the rule determined by the Law of Georgia on Higher Education. Graduates of a professional higher educational program are given a specialist’s diploma.
Both types of vocational education and training are aimed at providing students with professional knowledge and practical skills, and promoting their employment. Accordingly, VET programs do not include general educational subjects. However, it is worth noting that the students are eligible to choose VET programs (or modules) as an elective subject as part of the general education curriculum (in 11-12 grades). The workload of such elective subjects should not exceed 10% of the student’s overall workload. The aforementioned VET programs or modules can be carried out in VET centers or in secondary schools based on an official agreement between VET and general educational institutions.
As the workload of such an elective subject is limited, most likely a student will not be professionally qualified. However, a student will be given a certificate acknowledging his/her level of competence. In such cases, the acquired knowledge can be recognized (credits can be transferred) if the student continues studies in the VET system.
As different from academic programs of higher education, professional higher educational programs are focused on the training of specialists with a diploma/degree (the so-called short cycle of higher education). Students are enrolled in professional higher education programs through passing Unified National Examinations. However, the requirements of Unified National Examinations are significantly simplified (entrants have to pass only one exam – the general aptitude test).