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### Launch of New Direction by Swiss-Ukrainian Project DECIDE to Support Vocational Education Reform in Ukraine

The DECIDE project, a collaboration between Switzerland and Ukraine, is introducing a new initiative called “DECIDE: VET” in partnership with the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine. This program aims to support the reform of vocational education in Ukraine by engaging regional state administrations, territorial communities, vocational and technical education institutions, schools, and businesses in developing a career guidance system and enhancing the appeal of vocational education.

Switzerland has committed 2 million Swiss francs (equivalent to over 80 million hryvnias) to aid the reform of vocational education in Ukraine.

Under the DECIDE project, expert guidance and technical assistance will be provided to the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine to implement vocational education reform nationally. This includes transitioning VET institutions from state to municipal ownership, establishing educational-methodical centers for VET, enhancing the regulatory framework for effective reform implementation, and creating a new funding model for VET institutions.

Moreover, the initiative will test collaboration models among regional state administrations, territorial communities, VET institutions, schools, and businesses to establish a student career support system. Key points of this endeavor include:

  • Selection of partner regions such as Poltava, Odesa, Ivano-Frankivsk, Chernihiv, Kyiv, and Lviv for pilot implementation.
  • Identification of 10 VET institutions and 10 community partners in the partner regions.
  • Provision of assistance to each selected VET institution in devising development strategies, receiving seed grants to establish career guidance hubs, accessing professional development programs, and obtaining expert aid in fostering ties with businesses.
  • Grant allocation and expert guidance for partner territorial communities to organize career guidance events and involve their specialists in career counselors training programs.
  • Implementation of comprehensive student career guidance systems in partner community educational institutions through collaboration with leading Ukrainian experts and professionals from the Zurich University of Teacher Education, Switzerland.

Dmytro Zavgorodnyi, Deputy Minister of Education and Science of Ukraine, expressed gratitude for Switzerland’s support in vocational education reform, emphasizing its importance for the Ukrainian economy’s recovery and infrastructure rebuilding post-war.

Andreas Huber, Director of the Cooperation Program at the Embassy of Switzerland in Ukraine, highlighted the significance of transforming the vocational education landscape in Ukraine to mirror Switzerland’s successful model, where 75 percent of students opt for vocational education.

Valentyna Poltorak, DECIDE Project Manager, stressed the necessity of fostering cooperation between various stakeholders to enhance career guidance and align education with the labor market, enabling Ukrainian youth to pursue promising careers in their homeland.

The pilot phase of the career guidance system will be active until the conclusion of 2024.