A qualified workforce is needed for further economic and social development in the countries of the ASEAN community. The Regional TVET Conference in Viet Nam in Hanoi on 10 and 11 October took place in order to tackle the challenges of achieving a Quality Breakthrough in Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET). The conference focused on the four topics most relevant for this TVET Quality Breakthrough: occupational standards, cooperation with the business community, training of vocational teachers and financing of TVET. The conference was jointly hosted by the Vietnamese Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA) and the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). It was part of the Vietnamese-German strategic partnership agreement, signed by the Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in October 2011.
Speaking at the opening of the Conference to 300 delegates from 14 countries, including nine ASEAN countries, Vietnam’s Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan emphasised Viet Nam’s need ’to strengthen cooperation with other countries in the ASEAN region [and] developed countries in the world, especially with the Federal Republic of Germany’. State Secretary Hans Jürgen Beerfeltz from BMZ pointed out that ‘for a sustainable and socially balanced growth the economy of Viet Nam needs qualified labourers’. In this context, the State Secretary emphasised the crucial role of TVET and affirmed Germany’s commitment to support Viet Nam’s TVET reform efforts by stating that ‘this conference reflects the great importance of vocational training in the cooperation between Viet Nam and Germany and in the cooperation with the region’.
After two days of intense experience-sharing and enthusiastic discussions, the Regional TVET Conference reaffirmed the key role of demand-oriented high quality TVET for national socio-economic development and for the ASEAN regional integration process. In particular with respect to the establishment of the ASEAN free labour market starting in 2015, the significance of enhancing regional networking and cooperation in TVET was confirmed. Moreover, the participants recognised Germany as an established strategic partner in reforming the TVET system. The conference generated experience exchange and deepened insight into how demand orientation of TVET could be improved. It also stimulated networking and dialogue regarding TVET reform processes. The participants made recommendations to raise quality and demand orientation of TVET in Viet Nam and other Southeast Asian countries.
For the TVET reform process in Viet Nam in accordance with the Socio-Economic Development Strategy and the TVET Development Strategy (2011-2020) the successful cooperation with BMZ and its implementing organisations are an important factor. The cooperation between TVET institutes and enterprises is to be further strengthened. Furthermore, the roles and responsibilities of enterprises should be increased. Also, the training of vocational teachers as backbone for TVET is crucial and experience exchange on suitable teacher training models in Asia needs to be enhanced. How to set up occupational standards and therewith the mutual recognition of skills among the ASEAN countries is also an important question. Therefore, the conference agreed to establish a Vocational Training Association of ASEAN countries which will integrate different stakeholders of TVET into one network. These outcomes of the conference are highly valuable for the TVET reform process and reflect the necessity to continue working on core TVET topics in the context of ASEAN integration.
Taken together, outcomes and atmosphere were greatly appreciated by the participants. Friendships were formed and a common understanding for the joint mission of achieving the TVET quality breakthrough was fostered. MoLISA Vice-minister Nguyen Ngoc Phi, who concluded the Conference jointly with the German Ambassador Mrs Jutta Frasch, thanked the German Government, BMZ and GIZ for their engagement in the TVET reform process and for making this conference a success. ‘Training must meet market demands’, summarised the national newspaper »Vietnam News«