Bangkok – Industry Linkage Manager Bonifacio Mercado Jr. joined more than 100 delegates from ASEAN gathered for the 9th Regional Policy Dialogue on Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) on June 24, 2019 to discuss how to improve TVET’s quality, image and outcomes. Key decision-makers coming from both private and public sectors attended the dialogue.
TVET is considered important in the strategies of ASEAN Member States (AMS), the Philippines included, to upgrade their workforce in line with the requirements of new technologies and new processes for production and service delivery. TVET also aims to prepare the labor force for decent jobs.
Dr. Aladdin D. Rillo, Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for Economic Community, in his opening remarks, highlighted that the dynamic interplay between innovation and improvement is needed so that TVET can live up to its potential to improve social and economic outcomes. Dr. Rillo emphasized that new and stronger partnerships for TVET are needed across sectors and countries; most importantly, partnerships of mutual learning and exchange across sectors and countries that combine the expertise and resources of business and industry, TVET institution and the public sector.
Since June 2018, a regional working group comprised of 20 representatives from chambers of commerce, business associations, and a range of enterprises from all AMS identified recommendations for policy makers and entrepreneurs aimed at ensuring TVET’s fitness for the future. The 45 recommendations are summarized in a document entitled the “Future ASEAN Agenda for TVET.” The recommendations focus on such areas as enhancing the relevance and quality of TVET regulations and strategies; strengthening the leadership of business organizations in TVET; rebranding TVET; and deepening the collaboration of TVET schools with business and industry.
At the dialogue, the regional working group called on the ASEAN business community to lead the way in implementing the Future ASEAN Agenda for TVET in the years to come. Dato Palaniappan Joseph, speaking on behalf of the regional working group, committed “to invest our time and energy to continue this work, which we have begun in order to make the changes we advocate a reality.” It was emphasised that what counts is the will to act – at the national and regional level as much as at the level of each TVET school or college.
The 9th Regional Policy Dialogue served as a forum to review the recommendations and identify promising approaches and alliances to make the Future ASEAN Agenda for TVET a reality. The Future Agenda will be presented to the relevant sectoral bodies of ASEAN for integration in their future strategies and work plans.
Since 2014, Regional Policy Dialogues on TVET supported by the Regional Cooperation Programme to Improve the Quality and Labour Market Orientation of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (RECOTVET) on behalf of the German government have become an important forum for exchange on pressing topics of TVET reform for decision-makers from ASEAN. The 9th Regional Policy Dialogue was jointly organised by the ASEAN Secretariat, the ASEAN Business Advisory Council and RECOTVET.
After the 9th Regional Policy Dialogue, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority of the Philippines, with support from the ASEAN Secretariat and RECOTVET, will convene a workshop on “ASEAN TVET Agenda and Governance” that will consider ways by which cross-sectoral and cross-pillar regional cooperation for TVET system development may be undertaken.