International Conference in Brunei Emphasized TVET’s Impact for Sustainable Development

TVET graduates eyed to be in the frontline of the future workforce must be equipped with necessary knowledge and skills for them to greatly contribute to economic, cultural, and environmental development. Ensuring future workforce’s capability and building TVET’s greater impact to economic, cultural and political aspirations in the region is in line with the regional initiative of ASEAN integration. It is therefore important that TVET policymakers and experts continue to exchange information and ideas to capitalize on this vision.

With the increasing relevance of TVET and its transformation for the past years particularly in fostering economic and social development of Southeast Asian nations, the Colombo Plan Staff College (CPSC) co-organized with various regional organizations the TVET International Conference on "Ensuring the Greater Impact of TVET for Sustainable Development". The conference, held from June 1 to 2, 2016 at the International Convention Center in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam gathered 325-strong participants. Participating professionals were mostly TVET administrators and practitioners coming from 24 countries in Asia.

The confab provided opportunities for researchers, lecturers, and policy makers to share recent findings and innovation, best practices, and policies relevant to vocational and technical education.

The specific objectives of the conference were the following:

  1. Establish links for national, regional, and international TVET initiatives, policies and practices that respond to the needs and programs of the ASEAN economic community.
  2. Identify strategies in integrating concepts of sustainable development in TVET.
  3. Identify innovative ideas that will enhance the quality and image of TVET.
  4. Create a platform that will enable conference participants, partners, and stakeholders to strengthen collaboration and allow convenient and continuous sharing of innovative practices and policies.

Six subthemes were tackled in the facilitation of discussions which were as follows:

  1. TVET Initiatives in Support of the ASEAN Economic Community
  2. Strengthening Industry Collaborations
  3. Integrating 21st Century Skills in TVET
  4. Preparing TVET Students for "Green Jobs"
  5. Enhancing the Quality of TVET
  6. Innovative TVET Policies and Practices

The conference was opened by the conference co-organizers, who jointly reiterated the relevance of the conference and the benefits that it can bring in further identifying opportunities to realign TVET into a sustainable path. Welcome remarks were delivered by Mr. Hj Mohd Sharifuddin Hj Mohd Saleh, Director of SEAMEO VOCTECH; Dr. Chin Wei Keh, Director and CEO of the Institute of Brunei Technical Education and Dr. Nils Giessler, Program Director of RECOTVET-Vietnam.

Deputy Minister of Education, Dato Paduka Haji Bahrom bin Penginran Haji Bahar, representing the Chief Guest H.E. Dato Seri Setia Awang Hj Suyoi bin Hj Osman, Minister of Education of Brunei Darussalam, expressed his gratitude to the organizers and wished for the success of the event. He also highlighted Brunei’s continuing efforts in further adopting sustainable development practices in their educational system.

Representing CPSC was Prof. Dr. G. Kulanthaivel who delivered a paper titled: “APACC Accreditation and its Importance in Strengthening TVET Quality Standards”. His presentation underscored the efforts done by the Asia Pacific Accreditation and Certification Commission (APACC) in ensuring provision of high-quality TVET among vocational institutions in the region. APACC is a regional accreditation and certification body established by the Colombo Plan Staff College (CPSC) and has already extended its foothold to several Asian countries such as the Philippines, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, India and Thailand.

CPSC teamed up with the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization Regional Centre for Vocational and Technical Education. (SEAMEO-VOCTECH), Institute of Brunei Technical Education (IBTE), Ministry of Education, Brunei Darussalam, German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) and the Regional Cooperation Program to Improve the Training of TVET Personnel (RECOTVET)-Vietnam for the conference.

Other development partners in the region and in the world jointly supported the program, namely, the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO), Bangkok, Thailand; Korea Research Institute for Vocational Education and Training, based in Seoul, Korea and UNESCO-UNEVOC International Center based in Bonn, Germany.

Dr. Romulita Alto, CPSC Faculty Consultant and APACC Accreditor attended the event, while Ms. Casey Joan Alvarez, CPSC Training and Development Officer assisted in the conduct of the program.

Dr. Kulanthaivel (far right) with the Deputy Minister of Education Dato’ Haji Bahar (second from left) observing some of the booths and displays in the conference.

Dr. Kulanthaivel receiving the partnership award from SEAMEO-Voctech

Dr. Kulanthaivel (second from left) with the officials from SEAMEO VOCTECH and other co-organizers.

A Fijian participant with her display summarizing the efforts done by her country in promoting green TVET jobs.

A traditional Bruneian performance presented during the conference dinner.

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