Local Economic and Employment Development (LEED Programme)

Project: Injecting local flexibility in Education and Training systems and supporting local skills Strategy

 

A LEED policy innovation project for 2013-2014


The project is conducted in collaboration with the Directorate for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs (
ELS) and the Directorate for Education (EDU).

 


 

The purpose of this analysis is to assess how local flexibility can be injected into national adult education and training systems, while preserving accountability; and to better understand how to create an enabling policy environment for the development of effective local skills strategies.

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Rationale

The OECD Skills Strategy identifies that building greater flexibility into national skills strategies will help to integrate human resource and economic development policies and improve partnerships between industry and education at the point of delivery, at the level of local labour markets. The possibility of creating joined-up skills strategies depends on the ability of local policy makers to align their policies and services, which in turn depends on the flexibility they have to influence the delivery of these policies and services. Collaboration among education bodies, employers and trade unions are also important to ensuring that training and skills formation meets the needs and aspirations of the economy as a whole and of different local economies in particular.

Main issues to be addressed

How can more flexibility be injected into vocational training systems while preserving accountability and the achievement of national policy goals? What policy levers are necessary at what governance levels to ensure that education and training systems are sufficiently adaptable to contribute to broader strategies for economic development and growth?

 

As part of its follow-up to the Skills Strategy, the Secretariat will further analyse the ability of national governments and social partners to achieve local flexibility and adaptability into education and training systems. Previous LEED research has shown that allowing local agencies greater room for manoeuvre is a difficult challenge for governments. The awarding of greater flexibility must be accompanied by guarantees regarding the accountability of decision-making and the efficiency of service delivery. Capacities are a particularly important issue, as no government will be happy to allocate new responsibilities to local level actors if they do not feel that they have the skills and resources to deliver. At the same time, new forms of governance are being developed at the local level in OECD countries (such as cross-sector targets, scrutiny committees etc.) that allow horizontal accountability to tighten as vertical accountability relaxes.

 

Greater local flexibility does not necessarily mean greater decentralisation. Policy flexibility is not necessarily correlated with particular forms of political decentralisation or devolution, but can be present in any governance system (OECD, 2010). Indeed, it cannot be ruled out that a given centralised government system provides more flexibility than a decentralised or devolved one.

 

Methodology

In order to implement this research, LEED will collaborate with the Education Directorate (EDU) on a survey to Ministries of Education and Vocational Training in 2013, to ascertain the degree of local flexibility within adult education and training systems and the extent to which this is balanced with mechanisms for retaining national influence and accountability. The questions will focus on:

The involvement of local stakeholders in national curricula design for adult education;

The contribution of local policy makers in the field of education and training and the existence of local strategies on education and skills;

Flexibility in the financing, performance management and legal frameworks for adult education and skills policy at a local level. 


The above analysis have been informed by LEED’s previous work on this topic, including Local Implementation of Youth Guarantees: Emerging Lessons from European Experiences, Local Youth Employment Strategies, and Ensuring Labour Market Success for Ethnic and Minority Youth. 

 

Participation

Countries can support the elaboration of the questionnaire on flexibility in VET policies, which will be administered to all OECD countries represented on the Education Policy Committee (EDPC), either through voluntary contributions or expertise. Countries are also expected to participate in the project within the context of the horizontal review project “Developing effective skills strategies at national and local levels” as a follow-up to the OECD Skills Strategy. 

 

 

Outputs

Research results will be analysed and synthesised across participating countries to produce a report detailing transferable results and policy recommendations for OECD countries.  This report is expected to provide material for an edition of the future OECD Skills Outlook. The LEED Programme will also contribute to the OECD national and local level action plans as part of the horizontal project “Developing effective skills strategies at national and local levels”. 

Contact

For further information about the project please contact the OECD Secretariat.


Greater local flexibility does not necessarily mean greater decentralisation. Policy flexibility is not necessarily correlated with particular forms of political decentralisation or devolution, but can be present in any governance system (OECD, 2010). Indeed, it cannot be ruled out that a given centralised government system provides more flexibility than a decentralised or devolved one.

 

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