Ahmed Khudair Hussein – Department of Social Studies at Al-Bayan Center.
Vocational education in Iraq faces many obstacles and challenges that focus on aligning the outcomes of this type of education with the future needs of the labor market. In addition to the clear neglect and the accompanying decrease in local production, the absence of coordination between ministries to provide job opportunities, and the low view of vocational education based on minimum compared to university education, as well as the current labor market conditions that are unable to absorb these outputs.
The relationship between vocational education and market requirements is characterized by an imbalance between education and training curricula, development needs, and the labor market. In addition to the absence of planning and management in preparing a qualified workforce to deal with the rapid changes and their repercussions on the nature of the needs of the labor market, and accordingly, all other vocational education graduates who face the problem of unemployment and are looking for job opportunities far from their fields of expertise.
This paper sheds light on the gap between vocational education and the requirements of the labor market and reviews the reality of vocational education with its components, objectives, and indicators. In addition to the challenges facing the labor market in terms of economically active forces and indicators of the unemployment rate, the study assumes an inverse relationship between graduates of vocational education and the requirements of the labor market.
First: Forgotten Vocational Education
Vocational education in the sense used in this study is an educational system whose study plan includes general theoretical subjects, applied theoretical subjects, and practical training in which the education period is three years after completing the intermediate school stage. In it, the student acquires skills and abilities, as it includes five specializations: (agricultural, industrial, commercial, applied arts, and technology).
The vocational education and training sector is a tool that enables participants to acquire and understand practical and managerial skills and enables them to work in a profession or a group of specific professions. These practical skills are provided in a wide range of settings by different education and training service providers in both the public and private sectors. Vocational education provides participants with indispensable professional skills for effective participation in work and life, such as self-awareness and self-confidence, strengthening personal relationships, citizenship, communication, and leadership. It can be said that the importance and purpose of vocational education can be summarized as follows:
The importance of vocational education
Vocational education is one of the branches of the secondary education system, but with a separate administration, and students have the right to choose secondary vocational education immediately after they finish mid-school, where they receive vocational skills; To prepare them to join various professions after graduating from vocational schools. It has a distinct position on the order of priorities; Because it is related to development projects, and it represents the most important link between the educational system and the labor market. Vocational education has played an important and pivotal role in managing economic and social life as one of the main tributaries in preparing national staff, combating unemployment, and raising the standard of living. This type of education is of great importance in developed countries, to the extent that some universities have taken their share of this sector, describing vocational education as a social necessity. Perhaps the experience of Japan is the best evidence, as the industry sector there ensured the provision of most of the technical education and vocational training programs, with 75% of those programs, while the rest is allocated by the Ministry of Education. Vocational education is closely related to educational objectives on the one hand and the world of the labor market on the other. It has the following characteristics:
- It must continue to develop and modernize its resources and methods and keep pace with developments.
- To have a high economic return, and try to mix in work and training sites.
- Its planning should be in harmony with the environment and provide safety and security for workers and equipment.
- To be directly related to the labor market and its needs.
- To provide practical services in return for wages paid by the beneficiaries, whether they are individuals, companies, or institutions.