The New Design of the Vocational Education & Training System in Türkiye: Recent Improvements & Initial Outcomes

    The world is undergoing a transformation that is unprecedented in history. There is an ongoing multidimensional transformation of societies that is driven by sociological and technological advancements (United Nations, 2020). As social dynamics continue to change rapidly (United Nations, 2020), technological developments and globalization have exacerbated global competition in many sectors (Dahlman, 2018; OECD, 2018a). Furthermore, as outlined by the United Nations (2020), these changes are characterized by a rise in inequalities, technological advancements, climate change, urbanization, and international migration. There were numerous socio-economic changes in this period, including the transition from rural to large cities, the transition from agriculture to commerce, the transition from isolated societies and economies to interactive societies and economies, the transition from large families to small families; transitions to higher incomes and higher education societies begin to emerge (Greenfield, 2016).

    To adapt to this new paradigm, countries have had to reevaluate a number of subsystems and processes (Gagnon-Lebrun & Agrawala, 2006; Skare & Riberio Soriano, 2021). The social changes discussed above are large-scale and interconnected. It is expected that education will be one of the systems to respond quickly to changes in society due to its ability to reach all stakeholders and as the most effective means for society to adapt to them (Carstensen & Emmenegger, 2023; Facer, 2011). In this context, it is essential to train qualified and current human capital to prepare societies for these changes and contribute to the sustainable development of a country. An education system that provides a qualified education is undoubtedly the most effective tool for training the human resource described above (OECD, 2019a).

    According to Facer (2011), education will contribute to the following fields:

    • Enhancing the relationship between people and technology,
    • Establishing new intergenerational relationships,
    • Establishing new forms of knowledge and democracy,
    • Alleviating the inequalities in the economy and society.

    A general consensus has been reached regarding the importance of education systems in countries’ adaptation to modern conditions (OECD, 2019a; UNESCO, 2005). Nevertheless, the question of how to configure a dynamic system with many stakeholders and numerous components to meet current needs remains an important subject of discussion. In this context, countries are planning to establish an education system that will prepare both school-age children and adults for this transformation process (OECD, 2018b, 2023; UNESCO, 2005). As an example, the OECD has developed the “Learning Framework 2030” taking into account feedbacks received from participating countries, which informs countries of the factors required to provide quality education (OECD, 2018b).

    As a whole, the educational system plays a significant role in the transformation process, but vocational education and training (VET) stands out in achieving this transformation successfully (CEDEFOP, 2018; Özer, 2020a, 2021b). There are many opportunities for developing countries with VET, including its strong links to the labor market (CEDEFOP, 2017; Özer, 2020c), its role in sustainable development (Pavlova, 2019), and its flexibility and practice-based nature. This report reviews the main elements of the transformation process, the steps taken by countries to prepare their VET systems for this transformation, as well as the transformation and results of the VET system in Türkiye over the last few years.

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