Enhancing Effectiveness of Vocational Education – EEVE

Project summary

This project aims to improve the performance of vocational colleges in Vietnam. Through pilot surveys in Hanoi, we identified two key challenges. First, students graduate without the skills demanded in the labour market. Second, there is mismatch between students and available jobs/employers, which leads to low rates of employment and job retention. We propose a randomized control trial to evaluate the effectiveness of two interventions that can address these problems and improve students’ labour market outcomes. The first intervention is a soft skills training programme that aims to increase the stock of students’ soft skills that are widely demanded in the labour market. The second considers career-counselling services with the goal of increasing information flows and helping students find better-suited jobs.

This project adds a research dimension to the SSC TVET DK-VN phase II (2019-22) and links closely to UN SDG Goals 4 and 8. The project is a partnership between the Development Economics Research Group (DERG) at the University of Copenhagen and the Institute of Labour Science and Social Affairs (ILSSA) at the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA) in Vietnam.

The project has three work packages: (i) generating novel datasets on vocational students and colleges; (ii) producing academic papers identifying the effects of soft skills training and career-counselling in the short- and longer-term; (iii) strengthening research capacity and dissemination. The overall aim is to improve labour market outcomes for vocational college students. As the interventions are designed in collaboration with ILSSA, our findings will have direct policy relevance and the interventions can be scaled-up. Capacity building will include training workshops and research visits. Dissemination will include policy briefs, workshops for policymakers and stakeholders, and blogs/columns in international media.


Midterm report
The project was successfully launched in Q2/2020. Covid-19 delayed field work by one year and meant that the baseline survey and scheduled training interventions could only start in Q4/2021 and had to move to an on-line rather than in-person format. The following activities have been completed:

1. Collecting data from colleges informing the sampling frame.
2. Conducting the employer survey to identify important/missing soft skills.
3. Completing the baseline survey in September/October 2021 in an on-line format.
4. Designing and implementing the soft skills and career counselling interventions in Q1-Q2 2022 with two service providers (Novaedu and Manpower).
5. Doing survey kick-off meeting in Q3/2021 presenting baseline survey instrument.
6. Doing dissemination workshop in Q2/2022 presenting baseline survey findings.
7. Implementing a two-day training workshop for ILSSA staff in Q2/2022 for on-line data collection using the survey platform SurveyCTO.
8. Completing the descriptive report in Q2/2022 using baseline survey data.

As a result of the activities, the research capacity of ILSSA staff has clearly been enhanced as they now understand the requirements in preparing both the sampling and the planned interventions through their close engagement in all steps. This will have long-term impact both in the area of vocational education and in other areas where ILSSA may engage in future relying on the methodologies in reference.

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