Brain drain is one of the major societal problems in the Danube region. Higher standards of living, better employment opportunities and the higher quality of academic institutions have attracted hundreds of thousands of people to leave their countries, especially highly-skilled young people. This leaves the affected countries with a reduced labour force and decreased regional competitiveness. Young people in the Danube region often enter the labour market after higher education without having acquired the necessary skills that employers require. This can lead fresh graduates frustrated and questioning the value of their education. Besides other factors, the lack of a systematic connection and cooperation between higher education institutions and the labour market has further escalated brain drain.
What could be a solution? EDU-LAB. With a systematic cooperation between higher education, businesses, policy makers and civil society, students could have a more up-to-date knowledge and employers would have better qualified candidates. By improving institutional capacities to increase the labour market relevance of higher education, skilled young people would have better professional opportunities in the Danube region, leaving would not be their best option anymore.
How is EDU-LAB managing to achieve this?
Firstly, the Danubian Governance Model and the Policy Guide “How to Start –Implementing the New Danubian Governance Model”, developed by the project partners, addresses the regional problem of skilled workforce emigration and introduces a model of practice-oriented education. The policy guide offers practical solutions for all relevant stakeholder groups to help them enhance the labour market relevance of higher education.
Secondly, the project brought together stakeholders from higher education, policy, business and civil society. Through transnational workshops and meetings, they had the opportunity to exchange ideas, which helped filling cooperation gaps and designing a model for systematic intersectoral cooperation.
Lastly, through enhancing the labour market relevance of higher education, graduates can acquire skills better matching the requirements of the labour market that opens up better opportunities for them in their home countries in the Danube region.
The activity of EDU-LAB could be resumed as follows: more than 150 stakeholders from higher education, administration, business and civil society were involved in the project; the Danubian Charter for Young Talent was signed by more than 50 partners committing themselves to a long-term cooperation; a policy recommendation, the New Danubian Governance Model was developed to address the issue of skilled worked-force migration; a new higher education legislation was passed in Serbia; the 1st professional Bachelor programme was accredited and launched in Slovakia; more than 10 transnational workshops were held involving approximately 200 participants.
Through setting an example in the framework of EDU-LAB, more regions facing the same problems could be inspired to act and improve the cross sectoral cooperation and the labor market relevance of higher education. If EDU-LAB would accomplish its mission, young people would have real professional chances and choices, would be able to be mobile out of personal interest and not out of necessity.
Find more about PA7 here: https://www.danubeknowledgesociety.eu/
Photo: EDU-LAB project