Impact of High Education on Work Force Formation in Georgia

Starting from October 2012 the International Institute for Education Policy, Planning and Management is implementing new project and will try to identify the impact of high education on work force formation and development in the country.

The overall purpose and specific objectives

The overall purpose of the project is to broaden existed knowledge on impact of higher education on employment trends in Georgia  in the context of recent reform of HE sector and to formulate policy options for improving the linkage between HE and employment market.

Specific objectives of the project are to:

a)            Examine the strength of relationship between HE and employment and assess current policy on integration of  the graduates  of the reformed system of HE on job market;
The particular tasks in the frames of the first specific objective is to:
•               Describe current employment trends among the cohort of population that went through HE system in Georgia since 2004 (employed in  the field of specialization, employed in fields, not employed);
•               Study employment opportunities in the mentioned cohort by gender, social and economic status;
•               Calculate overall return to education by different fields of specialization (measure relationship  between the investment to HE  and income);
•               Measure impact of education (compared to other factors) on employment;
•               Study perceptions of society on overall quality of HE and its influence on employment opportunities.
b) Elaborate policy options and recommendations based on research results to improve job force creation and utilization in Georgia;
c) Mobilize support for elaborated policy options through awareness-rising and advocacy campaigns.

The rational
Lack of employment or income-earning opportunities is consistently highlighted as the number one concern in Georgia, as repeatedly demonstrated by independently run public opinion polls over the past years. In the latest poll of June 2012 conducted by the National Democracy Institute, 60% of respondents indicated employment as the most important issue in Georgia and 70% of them stated that they are unemployed.  Results coincide with findings of the public opinion poll conducted by G-PAC in Georgia in 2011, where 70% of respondents consider jobs as the most important policy issue and more than 60% of interviewed citizens think that NGOs should work more intensively on the issue.

Unemployment is currently in the core of policy operational agenda and political discourse. The issue is covered by pre-election programs of all main political parties and is reflected as a main theme in the action plan of the government of Georgia.  New ministry was established in the country a month ago to work exclusively on the problem.

Despite high priority attached to the issue, Georgia has not yet elaborated a detailed strategy to address the problem. Therefore the demand for accurate and reliable empirical data on current patterns of employment as well as on different factors influencing these patterns is very high at the moment.

Education in general and higher education in particular is considered as very important factor in shaping human capital.  Numerous studies are therefore devoted worldwide to calculate a return to education in different contexts. In other words, scientists and policy makers around the world are interested to understand how public and private investment in higher education contributes to the process of creation of qualified workforce and overall welfare of society?  The issue is not at all investigated in Georgia.

On the background of recent reforms in the higher education sector (initiated in 2004 in Georgia) the issue gains even greater importance as one of the main goals of HE reform is to align outputs of tertiary education to requirements of a job market.

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