SEAMEO initiates regionalizing TVET in Southeast Asia

  • 18 September 2015, Friday

Dr. Gil C. Saguiguit, Jr., SEARCA Director 4th from right), and Ms. Adoracion T. Robles, SEARCA Executive Coordinator and Management Services Unit Head (3rd from right), at the Chiang Mai meeting on 24-26 August 2015, with former Thailand Deputy Minister of Education Dr. Krissanapong Kirtikara (center); Dr. Tinsiri Siribodhi, SEAMES Deputy Director for Administration and Communication; Dr. Juan Miguel M. Luz, Associate Dean at the Asian Institute of Management Stephen Zuelling Graduate School of Development Management; and other Thai participants.

In sync with initiatives for ASEAN integration starting in 2015, the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO) has spearheaded a series of meetings toward internationalization and harmonization of technical and vocational education and training (TVET) in Southeast Asia. The first of these meetings took place on 24-26 August 2015 in Chiang Mai, Thailand among High Officials, which announced a drive to expand collaboration on internationalization and harmonization of TVET in the region by identifying practical mechanisms and comprehensive action plans among priority industry sectors, namely: 1) hospitality and tourism; 2) electronics, mechatronics, manufacturing, and applied chemistry; 3) agriculture and fisheries; 4) construction/civil engineering; and 5) commerce (banking).

Opening program of the SEA TVET DAAD Workshop on 10 September 2015 in Solo, Indonesia.Meanwhile, the second workshop that took place on 10-12 September 2015 in Solo, Indonesia, with almost 400 participants elicited commitments among participating TVET institutions and universities for cross-country teacher and student exchanges. The workshop also introduced a plan to set up a Southeast Asian (SEA) TVET Consortium, which is a SEAMEO initiative. The Directorate of Technical and Vocational Education of the Indonesia Ministry of Education and Culture hosted this second meeting, with the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) Regional Office in Indonesia as partner, and the SEAMEO Secretariat (SEAMES) based in Bangkok, Thailand and two SEAMEO regional centers as regional coordinators. These were the SEAMEO Regional Centre for Vocational and Technical Education and Training (VOCTECH) based in Brunei Darussalam and the SEAMEO Regional Open Learning Center (SEAMOLEC) based in Indonesia. SEAMEO VOCTECH will lead SEAMEO’s proposed SEA TVET Consortium.

Dr. Gatot Hari Priowirjanto, SEAMES Director, and Mr. Hj Md Sharifuddin bin Hj Md Salleh, SEAMEO VOCTECH Director, recount the accomplishments of the Solo workshop in their closing remarks on 12 September 2015.In agriculture and fisheries, which is the area of interest of the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA), its Director Dr. Gil C. Saguiguit, Jr. underscored the role of TVET in developing the region’s human resources that can directly contribute to inclusive and sustainable agricultural and rural development (ISARD) in the Southeast Asian region. SEARCA has thus participated in the two regional meetings although TVET in agriculture and fisheries is not directly within its institutional strengthening and capacity development mandate. On the other hand, SEARCA focuses on serving the higher education, research and policy sectors. However, the Center will support TVET providers/institutions in curriculum/content development along the thrusts of ISARD where gaps in training content and trainer capacity may be found.

(L-R) Dr. Saguiguit; Dr. Abi Sujak, SEAMOLEC Interim Director; and Dr. Gatot Hari Priowirjanto, SEAMES Director give their thumbs up in Solo, Indonesia for internationalizing and harmonizing TVET in Southeast Asia.In the Philippines, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) is the lead TVET institution, with various vocational schools and state colleges and universities offering TVET courses. Since 2011-2012, the Department of Education started rolling out the components of the K-to-12 basic education curriculum, which expands primary and secondary education to 12 years adding two final high school years with option for three tracks: academic, technical-vocational-livelihood, and sports and arts.

The promotion of TVET was identified as one of the priorities of Education Ministers in Southeast Asia during their Strategic Dialogue on 13 September 2014 in Vientiane, Lao PDR. Specifically, SEAMEO is promoting TVET among learners and their parents through more visible investments in the field, and improving relevance of the curricula to focus on creativity and innovation. The SEAMEO Strategic Dialogue of Education Ministers (SDEM) also agreed that TVET in the region can be enhanced through the development of a regional policy framework for labor, skills and learner mobility. (Maria Celeste H. Cadiz)

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