The year 2018, according to the Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA), was the year of the TVET breakthrough. The Vietnamese-German Programme “Reform of TVET in Vietnam”, contributes to improving the quality and competitiveness of Vietnamese human resources in regional and international markets, especially considering new challenges and opportunities from Industry 4.0. The Programme is jointly implemented by the Directorate of Vocational Education and Training (DVET) and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). In this interview, Dr. Jürgen Hartwig, the Programme Director wraps up significant achievements of the Vietnamese-German cooperation in TVET in 2018 and highlights priorities and objectives of 2019.
Changes in quantity and quality of the TVET network
Since MOLISA took over the sole responsibility for TVET management in 2016, the network of Viet Nam’s nearly 2000 TVET institutes has been restructured to ensure coherence and efficiency. Mergers of TVET institutes have taken place, particularly at district level. Several TVET institutes will be selected to become High Quality Institutes according to the revised Decision 761. Within the frame of the Vietnamese-German cooperation, the concept of Centers of Excellences (CoE) has further developed and implemented at LILAMA 2, HVCT and VCMI. Core idea of the CoE concept is that some High Quality TVET institutes fulfill further system functions and provide, for example, further training for teachers of other TVET institutes and in-company trainers. To encourage investments and cooperation, Viet Nam should further develop and implement legal stipulations and guidelines to promote a coherent TVET system which enjoys the trust of the Vietnamese business sector.
Updates and relevant topics about the development of the TVET institutes’ network were included in the annual Viet Nam VET report. The report is a tangible result of the trilateral cooperation between the National Institute for Vocational Education and Training (NIVT) of DVET, GIZ and the German Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB). It is the first report of its kind in the ASEAN region. In 2019, this report will continue to be supported and further improved to foster evidence-based policy making in the sector.
Autonomy as the key to TVET reform
Autonomy of TVET institutes is an important priority for TVET breakthrough. The Programme “Reform of TVET in Viet Nam” supported discussions on this topic among relevant stakeholders and organised a study tour to Germany, thus contributing valuable inputs to complete the Draft Decree on “Autonomy Mechanism for Public TVET Institutes” that is expected to be enacted in early 2019. Autonomy enables TVET institutes to proactively cooperate with the business sector in the development and implementation of training programmes, as well as to decide their staffing and organizational concerns. However, autonomy also presents challenges, especially concerning financing mechanisms of TVET. In Germany for example, the Government fully funds the theoretical training at TVET Institutes, while the industry provides a substantial part of the funds for the in-company training. In Viet Nam, it also seems important that both sides, the government and industry jointly finance a demand oriented TVET system as backbone for economic growth and stability.
Close engagement of the business sector ensures the quality and demand orientation of training offers
In 2018, concrete mechanisms to promote the engagement of the business sector in TVET were developed. Notably, the draft of Decree 48 defines the rights and responsibilities of the business sector in TVET and provides the legal basis for the establishment of an in-company trainer system. In 2019, roles and responsibilities of concerned stakeholders and institutions responsible for training and certification of in-company trainers remain to be further defined. An In-Company Trainer Standard based on the Standard for In-Company Trainers in ASEAN Countries that was endorsed by The ASEAN Senior Official Meeting on Education (SOM-ED) in 2017 and a corresponding training programme could be developed.
In the Programme “Reform of TVET in Viet Nam”, the cooperation with the business sector has always been of high priority. In April 2018, an MOU among DVET, VCCI and GIZ was signed, enhancing cooperation, including the development and implementation of learning outcomes and training programmes, in-company training phases and joint assessments.
In November 2018, the three-year cooperative pilot training programme for Sewage Engineering Technicians was successfully completed with graduates trained and qualified according to the German standard at the HVCT in HCMC. Based on the quality features of Germany’s dual TVET system, the success of the training programme marked a milestone in vocational training in Vietnam, proving that vocational training in cooperation with the business sector is highly effective and efficient. Therefore, the cooperative training approach, which is also been piloted at LILAMA 2, is a good model to be disseminated to other TVET institutions across the country.
To institutionalize the cooperation between TVET institutes, the business sector and other relevant stakeholders, in 2018 two Industry Advisory Boards (one for mechatronics and industrial electronics and one for metal cutting-CNC and construction mechanics) were established at LILAMA 2 College. With the participation of the Government, the TVET institutes, enterprises and associations, industry advisory boards facilitate systematic involvement of the business sector in TVET. We expect in 2019 to disseminate this model to effectively promote the involvement of the business sector in the development of learning outcomes and training programmes and in the implementation of training and assessment.
Quality assurance as a basis to improve TVET
The piloted quality assurance instruments “tracer studies” and “enterprise surveys” were integrated into Circular 15 on VET Quality Accreditation and the Circular 28 on VET Quality Assurance in 2017. This contributes to the improvement of TVET quality based on enterprises’ requirements and feedback, as well as TVET graduates’ employability. In 2018, the Vietnamese Education and Training Agency (VETA) of DVET in cooperation with the Programme “Reform of TVET in Viet Nam” organised training courses for 20 TVET institutes on the application of these instruments. Specifically, 12 multipliers were trained and are now able to disseminate these instruments nationwide. Guidelines and experiences gained during the implementation of the instruments are being combined in two handbooks that will be published in 2019.
Furthermore, quality assurance (QA) staff from DVET, VCCI and TVET institutes gained international experience in QA via a study trip to Germany in 2018. Subsequently, a German VET quality evaluation framework was selected as adequate to evaluate three TVET colleges in Viet Nam (Hanoi College of High Technology, VCMI, HVCT). Concrete recommendations were provided by the German auditors to the institutions to improve the quality of their services in accordance with the requirements of the industry, and for the system level to adjust quality assurance and accreditation regulations.
Required changes for TVET with opportunities and challenges from Industry 4.0, Greening TVET and TVET image
Industry 4.0 bears many opportunities for the economy and at the same time challenges for the training of human resources. To meet these challenges, joint initiatives were started by GIZ, DVET and business partners in 2018. Notably, in August, a partnership agreement with Bosch Rexroth on the development and piloting of an Industry 4.0 training module was concluded and a cooperation agreement between LILAMA 2 and nine other TVET institutes was signed. Conferences, workshops and a study tour to Germany were organized. Important inputs for an Industry 4.0 strategy have been collected and will be integrated in the new TVET Strategy 2021-2030 which will be developed in 2019.
Green TVET is an essential requirement for a green economy. In 2018, an Action Plan for Greening TVET was developed. Although the Action Plan still needs to be finalized and approved in 2019, implementation of important elements has already started: namely capacity building and awareness raising for greening TVET institutes and the integration of green aspects in learning outcomes and criteria for high-quality TVET institutes. Furthermore, the module “Environmental protection, energy and resource efficiency” developed at VCMI in 2018 will be piloted at selected TVET institutes in 2019. Ultimate aim is the integration of this essential module in all relevant training programmes nationwide. GIZ and DVET will also continue to support VCMI in the development of two new Green occupations in 2019: the Electronic Technician for Energy and Building Technology and the Plant Mechanic for Sanitary, Heating and Climate Technology.
Last but not least, a TVET image toolkit will be published in 2019 enabling TVET institutes to further develop their marketing and communication initiatives, paying particular attention to gender issues and inclusion of disadvantaged groups. In August of 2019, vocational trainees from Viet Nam will compete with representatives from more than 60 countries in the WorldSkills competition in Kazan, Russia. The “Programme Reform of TVET” is ready to support this, particularly for the first time in the field of water technology. I hope for a successful participation in this important event which will promote TVET as a promising career choice.
On the occasion of the New Year, I would like to express our sincere thanks to all Vietnamese and international partners for the cooperation during the last year. I hope 2019 will bring new opportunities and new successes. The Programme “Reform of TVET in Vietnam” commits to continue the joint effort and to support our partners in developing a quality TVET system for a green and sustainable economic development.
Thank you and Happy New Year!