Apr 24, 2014
As the Kurdistan Region — Iraq develops rapidly, it is creating jobs that require a solid education and technical skills. The government has launched an ambitious reform of basic and secondary education to increase its quality and has expanded opportunities for tertiary technical and university education. But expansion of secondary vocational education has lagged, leaving many students who cannot or do not want to pursue post-secondary education without the necessary preparation to compete in the evolving labor market and contribute to its economy. Enrollment in secondary vocational education has diminished in recent years, and graduates often have difficulty finding employment because their programs have not given them the skills required by employers. At the same time, employers complain that graduates from local general and vocational educational institutions do not possess the skills they need, and are said to resort to hiring foreign labor whenever they cannot find local graduates. As part of its sweeping efforts to transform education, the Kurdistan Regional Government asked the RAND Corporation to assess its Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) system. The findings suggest several recommendations for improving TVET, particularly at the secondary level. Rather than implementing all of these at once, the report suggests three phases (short term, medium term and long term) to allow for measured implementation.