Technical and Vocational Education and Training crucial for a 21st-century workforce in Myanmar
A remote-controlled robot that detects dangerous chemicals, automated traffic lights, a water-debris cleaning system, and an autonomous lawn mower were among the projects showcased by students from the Government Technical Institute in Yangon on 15 July 2019. To celebrate World Youth Skills Day, teams from technical and vocational schools across the country unveiled their designs to government officials, international development partners and curious onlookers.
The projects focused on current challenges faced throughout the country, including intense motor gridlock, contaminated water supplies and violent conflict. To not only deal with the obstacles of today, but also those of the future, the Ministry of Education needs to look beyond mainstream paths to education. Revitalizing the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) sector will be critical for producing a sustainable and skilled workforce.
Over the last few years, Myanmar has undertaken reforms to each branch of the Education sector, including TVET. These reforms focus on meeting the challenges of the 21st century in line with the Sustainable Development Goals.
The Ministry of Education is undertaking measures to enhance the relevancy and quality of as well as access to the TVET system. UNESCO is supporting the Department of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (DTVET) under the Ministry to conduct a comprehensive system review in collaboration with GIZ, part of the German Development Cooperation . The review aims to identify the development and challenges of TVET in Myanmar and to provide policy options for strategic planning and implementation of TVET reforms. The department established a national working team, with which UNESCO experts collaborated during the review process to collect data and finalize a draft report.
The findings of the report were shared in a national consultation workshop in early July at the Mingalar Thiri Hotel in Nay Pyi Taw. At the event, Deputy Union Minister U Win Maw Tun, the Head of UNESCO project office Kim Min Jeong, and the Head of GIZ TVET project Eiko Kauffmann all addressed the necessity of applying the findings of the review process to rebuild a 21st-century TVET system.
A diverse group of stakeholders, particularly from the private sector, is key in promoting TVET sector relevance to 21st-century challenges. About 100 private and public sector stakeholders participated in the workshop and contributed input to the report, including other line Ministries in TVET, the National Education Policy Commission, the National Curriculum Committee, the National Accreditation and Quality Assurance Committee, Myanmar industrial associations, and other private companies.
In addition to the validation workshop, UNESCO provided capacity-development training on skills assessment and forecasting in the Labour Market to technical and policy level officials from TVET line Ministries. Training sessions like these are meant to ensure that the Ministry is able to meet TVET targets such as increasing the relevance of TVET to the world of work.
Myanmar is making efforts to strengthen career-relevant education streams that recognize the 21st-century needs for hard and soft skill sets. A demand-driven TVET system must contribute to the country’s plans for sustainable economic development, with the recent review necessary to realign the current skills mismatch and improve forecasting of occupational skills to meet ever-evolving demands.
By Hnin Su Wai, National Programme Officer, and Stephanie Roach, UNESCO Fellow, at UNESCO Myanmar