Dual Vocational Education: An Alternative for Young People

The number of vocational schools and technical colleges offering dual education has grown in Moldova.

Dual vocational education has become more attractive for young people who do not want to attend universities in the Republic of Moldova. A new college with advanced technologies in Straseni is offering young people new opportunities.

“In high-school it was a game, not real study, just theory and no practice. In a college with dual system education, things are different, we have the opportunity to put our knowledge into practice”, said Liviu Aprodu, student.
In 2014, the Republic of Moldova launched a new educational project, dual vocational education. The first step in this new system was not that big, only 29 students applied for this programme, it was in Vocational School number 5 in Balti. “In 2014, we started just with one school and 29 students, now we have 29 institutions which provide dual vocational education and about 1500 students”, according to the advisor on dual vocational education and training, Laura Cioclea, from the Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).

The initiative to launch the dual education system programme came from the government of the Republic of Moldova at the request of external investors, so that a skilled workforce could be trained. The Government of the Republic of Moldova has requested assistance from the German government in order to ensure that the training and qualifications of the workforce are in accordance with the needs of the external investors’ business environment. Germany is an important partner in this project as it is a country which has been using the dual system for a long time.
The number of vocational schools and technical colleges with dual education is on the increase. In 2017-2018, according to the GIZ, there were 600 students compared to 2018-2019, where 1,200 students and 1,500 vacancies are in companies which are provided by the respective partners.
One of these institutions is the Engineering College in Straseni which opened its doors to students in September 2018. The college provides 100 places for students and two specialisations; Technological Equipment – Industrial and Accessories, and Mechatronics. The study curriculum is based on that of a German school.

Rodion Ciupiarcă, one of the five teachers at the college, said:
“The curriculum was designed on the basis of the German curriculum, because we have a partnership with colleagues from Ilmenau University who do exactly what we do, and we have tried to adapt that programme to our needs and requirements.”

Ⓒ Kardo Sharifi

The students do not have to pay any fees, all the studies and accommodation are provided by the government of the Republic of Moldova and its economic partners. Most of the partners are international companies, and most of them are from European countries: DRAXLMAEIER, Gebauer and Griller, La Triveneta Cavi, Coroplast and BLACKSEA-EMS. Our partner from Japan is Sumitomo Electric. One of the partners has a factory in the same building as the college in Straseni. BLACKSEA-EMS is Dutch company which produces fast-chargers for vehicles and electronics for explosion-hazard places. “We have been active in Moldova for two years; we produce electronic equipment for fast-charging and assembling drivers for LED bulbs. When we started working in Moldova, we understood that we would have an insufficiently qualified workforce – even though it is a simple job, it does require some skills in the field and this is why we entered into a partnership with the Engineering College in Straseni. We have talked to the college about what specialisms we need in the company and, thanks to the dual education system, students will learn some specialisms; after graduation they can then come and work in our company”, said BLACKSEA-EMS’s head of production in Straseni, Silviu Iulian.

Ⓒ Kardo Sharifi

The college is provided by the hi-tech laboratory. Students who are studying here are impressed by the quality of education and conditions “The information is delivered well, if we don’t understand something, the teacher always explains again”, said student, Rosca Ana.

Ⓒ Kardo Sharifi

According to the teacher of graphic drawing, Andrei Năstase, in the college just 23 students are studying from a possible 100 student places. “We planned to take in 100 students this year but, for various reasons, we had fewer applications, possibly because we only started the programme this year. In the next study year, we want to select 70 students as we have plenty of space – with the current 23 students, we are only occupying one class out of the six which we could have”, said the teacher.

Ⓒ Kardo Sharifi

From these 23 students, there is one special case and it is these two people in the photo; they are mother and son who are studying together in the Engineering College in Straseni.

Ⓒ Kardo Sharifi

Aprodu Elena and Liviu Aprodu heard about the college in the summer, and Elena thought it was a good opportunity for her son, Liviu, to study at this college so, she went with her son to the college to apply. The college selection committee offered Elena the opportunity to apply to the college as well, whereupon she said, “why not, it’s a great opportunity to do something new in my life, 20 years after graduation from high-school”.

Ⓒ Kardo Sharifi

“It feels a little bit strange to study with your mother in the same classroom, but I don’t have any problems with that. Unfortunately, we do not have much time to spend together because my mother goes home after the lessons, but I stay on the campus – we actually have time to speak more when we have lunch”, said Liviu. After the studies, Elena and Liviu both want to work in mechatronics.

The project dual education system in Moldova, which was launched four years ago by the government of the Republic of Moldova, is implemented with the support of the German Corporation for International Co-operation (GIZ) GmbH and the Swiss Agency for Development and Co-operation SDC.

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