On June 15, representatives from the World Bank, UNICEF and ISET gathered to analyze challenges and achievements in Vocational Education and Training (VET) in Georgia, as a part of the Education Policy Forum. The event was opened by Ozan Sevimli (the World Bank Program Coordinator for the South Caucasus), Ms. Laila Omar Gad (UNICEF's Representative to Georgia), Eric Livny (President of ISET) and Ketevan Natriashvili (Deputy Minister of Education).

Mr. Sevimli argued that the economic competitiveness of the country is very much dependent on the skills and competences of its workforce, which come up as one of the key bottlenecks in economic growth and poverty elimination in Georgia. Furthermore, he claimed that these problems are very much dependent on the education system in the country. In particular, vocational training is a very crucial element enhancing economic productivity in the country, and Mr. Sevimli emphasized that there has been a lot of work done in the vocational education sector in terms of admission exams, and some involvement from the private sector. However, he noted that 'Georgia is not there yet' and highlighted two main problems: firstly, the private sector is far away from the exchange that needs to happen between skills and what is needed in the labor market. Secondly, vocational education does not enjoy a particularly positive reputation in Georgia; it is perceived as being for those unable to achieve in acadmia. For her part, Ms. Natriashvili acknowledged the problems mentioned by Mr. Sevimli.

In addition to its other exchange programs, from last year ISET has actively built up a cooperative relationship with Lausanne University. A group of students and professors from the Business and Economics Faculty at Lausanne University visited ISET early this year and had a chance to take a course in Mechanism Design, taught by Motty Perry, a Senior Academic Adviser at ISET and Professor of Economics at the University of Warwick in the UK. In addition, they participated in a number of ISET-arranged seminars, touching upon various fields in Economics.

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