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New Study - Training and Jobs for Youths in Mediterranean Countries

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May 27, 2015 / 0 Comments
Tags: Other / 2015

By Yusuf Kocoglu* and Michele Mansuy*



As part of the New Chance Mediterranean Network Program (MedNC), the Office of Economic Cooperation for the Mediterranean and Middle East (OCEMO) commissioned a study on training and jobs for youths in six Mediterranean countries. This comparative study, conducted by Yusuf Kocoglu from the University of Toulon and monitored by Michèle Mansuy, includes three country fact sheets that point out the specific features of Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco. 

The purpose of this report is to better understand the youth education and employment situation in six Mediterranean countries (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan). The report highlights the merit of implementing additional training programs such as Second Chance Schools. 


Context and Findings


By far, Mediterranean countries have the highest youth unemployment rate in the world, which, at 25 percent, is twice as high as the global average. In addition, these countries have the largest gap between youth and adult employment rates. Moreover, given the high proportion of 15-29 year-olds, these countries must find solutions to address the education, employment access, social, and political issues affecting youths.  


Although the majority of the six Mediterranean countries included in this study have been overwhelmingly successful in providing universal education for children between 6 and 15, many problems remain. School failure and dropout rates remain high. The country fact sheets for Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia indeed show that the public authorities have not yet solved this problem, despite the establishment of nonformal school programs in Morocco and priority education zones in Tunisia.


The second problem facing the education system in the countries of the Mediterranean is the quality of teaching which, based on student scores in international tests, appears to be relatively low. Given this fact, the public authorities have launched multiyear reform programs.


Public policies put in place include programs to address youth employment and social integration problems. However, these programs are limited in time, are not broad enough in scope in some cases, and are seldom evaluated. Moreover, employment policies target as a priority young university graduates, thereby leaving the even larger category—youths without a degree—with very few options.




Despite impressive progress in recent decades, Mediterranean countries—Morocco in particular and Egypt to a lesser extent—should continue their efforts to completely overcome their quantitative lag in terms of education in comparison to a number of countries in Asia and Latin America.


The vocational training system, which could be a solution by providing a springboard to jobs for youths, is unfortunately underdeveloped and unrecognized. Some youths who have university degrees also face job access problems, as do young dropouts, that is, youths who have left school before the end of compulsory education or have dropped out before graduating from middle school or high school. These youths who have failed in the school system have no fallback solution to improve their chances of finding a paying job. One way to assist these youths would be to provide better counseling for them, facilitate their access to jobs and, most of all, upgrade their human capital by giving them the opportunity to acquire certified skills that they can leverage in the job market. Vocational training would be a useful tool to coordinate education with businesses and thus improve the chances youths have of finding a job.


The MedNC Network Project is run by the Office of Economic Cooperation for the Mediterranean and Middle East (OCEMO) in partnership with the Second Chance School (E2C) in Marseille and the Agence Française de Développement. The project is certified by the Union for the Mediterranean (UpM)[1] and it may solve this twofold problem by developing quality vocational training for these youths.

Thus, the Mediterranean New Chance Network Program (MedNC) meets a genuine need in the Mediterranean countries for this generation and is a key component for addressing their socioeconomic challenges. By integrating youths who have left the school system too early, in addition to young graduates, and by promoting vocational education and involving businesses, at a minimum, in the training process, this project will be a formidable tool for coordinating education with businesses, thus improving the chances youths have of finding a job.


The study (in French) and the three country fact sheets (in French) can be downloaded here.



[1] UpM certification attests to the unanimous political support of the ministries of foreign affairs of the 43 member countries. Certification enhances program credibility at the regional level and makes it easier to mobilize all the stakeholders at the national level. The international visibility of the program is strengthened as well, and this streamlines access for the technical and financial partners who may be in a position to contribute to expanding the program to the other countries of the Mediterranean Basin.

Yusuf Kocoglu and Michele Mansuy

Michele Mansuy is the director of the Studies and Research Center of the Office of Economic Cooperation for the Mediterranean and Middle East (OCEMO).


Yusuf Kocoglu is assistant professor of economics and researcher with the Laboratory for Applied Economics for Development at the School of Economics and Management of the University of Toulon. He is also a member of FEMISE. His research topics are: innovations, productivity and growth, sustainable development; impact of ICTs on business growth and productivity; labor market in the MENA countries and access to jobs for university graduates.


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