How Collaborations Make TVET Relevant in the Future
Potential threats to the labor market with the onset of the Fourth Industrial Revolution are giving rise to quality assurance collaborations among TVET institutions.
Low-skilled and repetitive jobs are bound to be eliminated by robots and artificial intelligence under the Fourth Industrial Revolution. This scenario is forcing technical and vocational education and training (TVET) institutions to partner and collaborate to ensure that TVET remains relevant in the future.
Once seen as the “last choice education” because of a perceived lack of quality, TVET these days is drawing attention for its growing role in helping the workforce of the future face the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
“TVET is a key ingredient for employability and economic mobility,” said Oliver Haas, Head of the Global Division “Health, Education, Social Inclusion” of Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) in Germany. “The quality of TVET — making sure that it is still relevant in the future — is the make-or-break question.”
At the Asian Development Bank’s 7th International Skills Forum, TVET institutions shared key lessons from their years of experience forging partnerships and collaborations.
“Due diligence in the choice of partners and understanding of the local context are of paramount importance,” said TAFE Queensland International Executive Director Janelle Chapman.
The Australia-based organization actively works in partnership with international clients, including governments, industry and institutions from over 30 countries. Its engagement models with partners vary and are tailored to the local context. This ensures that the quality of TVET not only leads to greater employability, but also labor mobility. “We need people whose skills can be ‘transportable’” especially in a future where there will be greater labor migration, Ms. Chapman added.
“Today, we often encounter fragmented and incoherent systems in quality assurance due to institutional as well as procedural reasons. We need to harmonize qualifications and increase flexibility to manage the complexity and speed of change,” said Mr. Haas of GIZ.
“Quality assurance (of TVET) is chronically over-governed and under-funded,” Mr. Haas added. Part of the reason is due to the low perception on TVET. Mr. Haas presented GIZ’s findings on German development cooperation and called for a new thinking on quality assurance in TVET. “To a certain extent, TVET, especially in Asia, is still often considered as a second-best option” to formal education, he said.
“The absence of a formal accreditation system at the national level in some countries and the lack of education and training standards at the regional level” hamper the quality of TVET, said Ramhari Laminchane, Director General of the Colombo Plan Staff College in Sri Lanka. A regional accreditation body is “imperative to solve problems of producing a qualified workforce, promote harmony of qualifications, and mutual recognition of qualifications.” He cited the case of the Asia Pacific Accreditation and Certificate Commission, in which he is president, set up by the Colombo Plan Staff College for Technician Education following an agreement in 2004 by 17 countries to establish a regional body for accreditation and certification of TVET institutions.
“With a rapidly changing economy, the technical and vocational education and training system needs to be more adaptive and train students to be more resilient,” said Institute of Technical Education (ITE) Education Services chief executive Bruce Poh. Presenting the Republic of Singapore’s experience in transforming its TVET system, Mr. Poh said in addition to investing in hardware (“creating a one-ITE system, 3 colleges” governance and education model), the state has also undertaken massive transformations in “software” (offering market-relevant courses and real environment learning facilities), as well as “heart-ware” (building a “caring culture” among staff, teachers and students). ITE has more than 120 active industry partnerships and has provided over 30 international consultancy projects in 27 countries in Asia, Africa, Middle East and Latin America.
Partnerships and collaborations among TVET institutions offer an effective way to meet international quality standards to ensure the skills taught remain relevant in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Quality Assurance in TVET. TVETipidea.
“The Issue of Quality in the TVET System,” UNESCO International Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training.
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