7th Regional Policy Dialogue on TVET
“BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY COOPERATION IN TVET – TOWARDS A BETTER PRACTICE FOR ASEAN”
Jakarta, Indonesia – On 21st and 22nd June 2018, the ASEAN Secretariat and the German Government's Regional Cooperation Programme for TVET in ASEAN (RECOTVET) hosted the 7th Regional Policy Dialogue on technical and vocational education and training (TVET). The topic of the event was “Business and Industry cooperation in TVET – Towards a better practice for ASEAN”. The meeting also saw the launch of a regional working group on “Business and Industry cooperation in TVET”.
ASEAN Member States (AMS) recognise TVET as an important element in strategies to provide workers with the right skills that match industry needs. It also helps to integrate young people into the labour market to reduce youth unemployment. Correspondingly, TVET ranks high on the political agenda of AMS and the region as a whole. In practice, however, the school-based TVET systems of AMS have much more to do in terms of integrating the needs of the economy in the design of teaching and instruction. School enrolment rates and the quality of TVET instruction are low. TVET graduates fail to live up to the demands of business and industry with respect to technical knowledge and practical competencies. Taking into account lessons from successful TVET systems across the region and beyond, one factor is critical for successful change: The cooperation of employers and the public TVET system. "Industry and private sectors are at the frontlines of weathering the changes in economies and know best the needed skills in the prevailing workforce. – [fostering] the conversation between industry and the private sector is even more important now as digitisation has quickened the pace of change in economies and their needs.", explained H.E. Dr. Aladdin D. Rillo, Deputy Secretary-General of the ASEAN Economic Community.
Since 2014 Regional Policy Dialogues supported by RECOTVET on behalf of the German government have become an important forum for exchange on pressing topics of TVET reform for decision-makers from the ASEAN region. The 7th Regional Policy Dialogue provided participants with state of the art research and practical examples from the ASEAN region and beyond regarding effective strategies to advance and institutionalise business and industry cooperation in TVET. H.E. Mr. Michael Freiherr von Ungern-Sternberg, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Indonesia, ASEAN and Timor-Leste, explained that Germany’s well-trained labour force is a crucial element of the country’s economic success. He highlighted the characteristics of Germany’s dual training system, which public and private stakeholders jointly organize, control and finance. For the AMS he recommended: “You should create stakeholders that are invested, then they will make sure together that graduates have the right kind of skills”.
Approximately 70 participants, including senior education and labour officials from relevant ministries of AMS, representatives from business and industry as well as regional stakeholders, engaged in the discussions.
The policy dialogue focused on two areas namely "Institutionalizing business and industry cooperation in TVET reforms" and "ASEAN approaches to strengthening school-industry relations and skills training". Various effective and convincing strategies to advance and institutionalize business and industry cooperation in TVET were presented based on research as well as real-life practice of business and industry owners and managers from several AMS, including from Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, the Philippines and Viet Nam. A key outcome of the policy dialogue was the strong affirmation and willingness from both the government and private sector representatives to institutionalize a mechanism to meaningfully engage business and industry in TVET. Participants resolved that ‘moving from potential to realization’ requires a focus on implementation and practical actions. Recommendations for ways forward included the need for regular dialogues, greater advocacy and communication, knowledge sharing, and working with TVET champions from business and industry, who are willing to lead the change process. As a specific step, the launch of a regional working group of TVET champions from business and industry was announced.
Launch of regional working group on business and industry cooperation in TVET
The insights and findings of the 7th Regional Policy Dialogue formed the starting point of the regional working group on business and industry cooperation in TVET. This group, comprised of 19 leading representatives of business and industry from all ten AMS, met for the first time in the afternoon of June 22nd. The mandate of the working group is to develop a "Future ASEAN Agenda for TVET" from the perspective of the business and industry sector.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, was established on 8 August 1967 in Bangkok, Thailand, with the signing of the ASEAN Declaration (Bangkok Declaration) by the Founding Fathers of ASEAN, namely Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. Brunei Darussalam then joined in 1984, Viet Nam in 1995, Lao PDR and Myanmar in 1997, and Cambodia in 1999, making up what is today the ten Member States of ASEAN. One of the aims and purposes of ASEAN is to accelerate the economic growth, social progress and cultural development in the region through joint endeavours in the spirit of equality and partnership in order to strengthen the foundation for a prosperous and peaceful community of Southeast Asian Nations. The ASEAN Vision 2020, adopted by the ASEAN Leaders on the 30th Anniversary of ASEAN, agreed on a shared vision of ASEAN as a concert of Southeast Asian nations, outward looking, living in peace, stability and prosperity, bonded together in partnership in dynamic development and in a community of caring societies. (More information http://asean.org/asean/about-asean/)
RECOTVET (full name Regional Cooperation Programme to Improve the Quality and Labour Market Orientation of Technical and Vocational Education and Training) is implemented by GIZ on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) since 2014. Until 2020 the RECTOVET aims at strengthening the human resources, institutional capacities and know-how for harmonised and labour market-oriented TVET systems in the ASEAN region. Efforts have been made at the political, institutional and individual level in order to have an efficient impact chain. For this reason, RECOTVET is active in four key areas that reinforce each other and are closely interlinked: (1) Strengthening Regional Institutions; (2) Quality Assurance; (3) Business and Industry Cooperation and (4) Strengthening of TVET Personnel.