The Kosovo Manufacturing Club with the support of LuxDev and other donors has organized for the first time the Vocational Education and Training (VET) Summit on 29 & 30 June 2021.

On the first day of the VET summit, the second panel session was moderated by Mr Daniele Cristian Passalacqua, the Chief Technical Adviser of the two Projects Implemented by the Luxembourg Development Cooperation Agency- LuxDev, “KSV/020- Support to Vocational Education and Training Reform in Kosovo – Phase 2” financed by the Government of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg  and the Project “KSV/801 European Union Support to Vocational Education and Training (VET), Professional Requalification and Occupation (ESVET PRO)” financed by the European Union Office in Kosovo.

The panel discussion was titled the “Legal framework for the formalization of Public-Private Partnerships between VET Schools and Private companies” and the panellists were the representatives of the following institutions:

  • Mr Anton Krasniqi – President of BESA Foundation;
  • Ms Vjosa Huruglica – Executive Director of the Association of Wood Processors of Kosovo;
  • Mr Rinor Qehaja, Executive Director of EdGuard;
  • Mr Astrit Rexhaj, Executive Director of Metal Industry and Renewable Energy Cluster of Kosovo;
  • Mr Taulant Abazi, Chief Executive Officer of Meister Training Centre.

The moderator of the session opened the discussion by providing a concise and clear explanation of the importance of the Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) for the development of VET schools and empowerment of businesses in the VET sector. On this point, the moderator briefly shared with the panellists and the audience the support that the two projects that he manages (KSV/020 and KSV/801) are providing in developing PPPs in Kosovo.

After the introduction which served as a guiding framework for the discussion, the moderator offered the word to the panellists. The moderator structured the discussion by asking relevant and specific questions to each panellist based on their respective field, profession, and the institutions that they represented.

The discussion covered a range of critical issues pertaining to PPPs such as what could be done in the current legislation to facilitate the establishment of PPPs at school level; what approaches could be used to promote viable Public-Private Partnerships and foster the efficiency of VET sector. In this regard, the moderator enquired from the panellists to suggest some alternatives that Kosovo could use based on successful case studies in other countries or from the perspective of the institution/organization of the panellists to establish and implement successful PPPs.

Considering the economic situation in Kosovo, the discussion was also oriented towards the benefits that PPPs could provide to both, VET institutes and the private sector and the incentives that could motivate institutions to establish PPPs. With this respect, the moderator highlighted the support that LuxDev has provided to Kosovo municipalities and MEISTER Training Centre to establish PPPs. As a result of this support, MEISTER Training Centre has signed Memorandum of Understandings with the Municipalities of Prizren, Gjilan, Suhareka, Ferizaj, and Vushtrri, for providing professional practice opportunities to the students of the electronic technician profile (1 day per week for each school at MEISTER premises).  

Drawing on the importance of including the civil society in the process of establishing PPPs, a significant and fruitful discussion took place on the role of NGOs in supporting institutions to establish PPPs. On this point, it was highlighted whether NGOs should only support the process of establishing PPPs in the capacity of mediator or NGOs should be involved independently in PPP agreements. Finally, the challenges of establishing PPPs from the perspective of private sector and VET institutes were discussed.

Before closing the session, the moderator gave the word to panellists for the final remarks and the moderator provided a summary of the discussion for the audience.

The second day of the VET summit was opened with the presentation made by Mr Daniele Cristian Passalacqua. The presentation served as the opening session of the second day of the VET summit and as the guiding framework for the other panel sessions of the day. 

Mr Passalacqua presented the Business Model Approach, a new concept which he has introduced in Kosovo and has been successfully implemented in the schools supported by the two projects that he manages. The presentation covered the three main concepts involved in the framework of the Business Model Approach; (1) strong middle management (2) co-management with the private sector, and (3) transition to dual VET. Mr Passalacqua highlighted the three main units that are envisaged to be established within the scope of the Business Model Approach a) Industrial Liaison and Career Guidance Unit, b) Information Systems and Data Management Unit and c) Service Provision Unit. The presentation also covered the importance of establishing the Industrial Advisory Boards (IABs) and Industrial Bodies (IBs) in the VET schools. The 15-minute presentation on the Business Model concept served as an extraordinary example of the successful integration of businesses in the school councils and the excellent adoption of middle management duties. With this respect, Mr Passalacqua emphasized that with the support of the two projects implemented by LuxDev (KSV/020 and KSV/801), 61 Industrial Boards have been established, involving 218 private companies and 13 VET institutions.

The presentation was followed by the panel sessions with various key stakeholders. The second panel session of the day was dedicated to the “Reform of the VET school councils and the integration of businesses in the formal decision making in the schools”. The session was moderated by Mr Daniele Cristian Passalacqua and the panellists were the representatives of the following institutions:

  • Mr Lah NitajDirector of the VET Department at the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology, and Innovation (MESTI);
  • Mr Hamdi BytyciSchool Director at Skender Luarasi, Municipality of Suhareka;
  • Mr Xhevat MuqaGeneral Manager at MUQA Solar;
  • Mr Art ShalaExecutive Director at XPR Consulting;
  • Mr Xheladin KolgeciGeneral Manager at TELKOS.

The moderator asked tailor-made questions to the panellists and illustrated the importance of the cooperation between businesses and VET schools by showcasing the good cooperation between the supported schools by the LuxDev Projects, like the case of Skender Luarasi Technical School in the Municipality of Suhareka. The panel session covered several crucial issues, including the current situation of school councils and the changes that have occurred over the years, motivating factors, benefits and challenges for businesses to be part of school councils, the role and the vision of the MESTI to empower school councils and the role of businesses in the decision-making process in the VET schools etc.

During the discussion it was highlighted that currently almost 53 per cent of the students in the Republic of Kosovo are pursuing their education in the VET schools, among which 23 per cent are girls. According to the director of the VET department, it is the goal of the MESTI to increase these figures, especially those of female students in profiles that have a better perspective for employability in the future. He also highlighted that the MESTI and the Project of LuxDev in 2021 have provided several scholarships for female students to enrol in technical profiles and in general for students to enrol in deficitary profiles. It was highlighted that the number of scholarships is expected to increase in the coming years.

The Director of XPR consulting shared with the audience some of the key findings from the Labour Market Information Studies that his company has been conducting regularly. The findings reveal:

  1. The genuine interest of businesses to participate in school councils;
  2. The need for further empowerment of school councils and greater inclusion of the private sector;
  3. The urgency for the development of the legal framework to regulate the establishment of school councils. 

The cooperation between VET schools and businesses will yield long-term benefits whilst ensuring the quality and attractiveness of VET in terms of providing the right competencies for the labor market. An example of this was showcased by the companies present in the panel, MUQA Solar and TELKOS, which are also part of the Industrial Advisory Board in the Skender Luarasi Technical school and which accept 12th grade students to complete their professional practice in their premises. The representatives of the two companies emphasized that in the future, they will increase the number of students admitted for professional practice to enable students to obtain skills that are highly needed in the future.

Mr Passalacqua concluded the session by thanking the panellists and informed the participants that the projects implemented by LuxDev will continue to support the MESTI to create a working group for the development of the legal framework for the establishment of the school councils and further development of the VET sector.