| Danial Norjidi |
TECHNICAL and vocational education and training (TVET) has a big role to play towards driving sustainable development and meeting the needs of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
This was highlighted by Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organisation (SEAMEO) Regional Centre for Vocational and Technical Education and Training (Voctech) Centre Director Dr Haji Mohd Zamri bin Haji Sabli. He made these comments during the closing ceremony of a regional training programme on ‘Effective Project Management for technical and vocational education and training (TVET) institutions’ at SEAMEO Voctech recently.
The programme, which began on February 11, was designed to meet the common needs of SEAMEO member countries for upgrading the competencies of their education practitioners.
The programme was based on the training themes identified by the SEAMEO Governing Board.
A total of 21 participants from nine SEAMEO-member countries were involved in the programme, facilitated by course coordinator Dr Abbes Sebihi and resource persons Dr Willie Herrera Libunao and Ariffin bin Haji Yusof.
Ambassador of Thailand to Brunei Darussalam Wanthanee Viputwongsakul, the guest of honour, presented certificates to the course participants.
The SEAMEO Voctech Centre Director noted that TVET faces many challenges to stay relevant.
“There is a need for TVET system to be streamlined whereby TVET should be an integrated part of the education system where education is to nurture productive and competitive workforce.”
He shared that one of the challenges of TVET is how to keep it relevant in the wake of the Fourth Industrial Revolution or ‘Industry 4.0’.
“TVET should play a big role in the field of education,” he said, highlighting that this is because the TVET system is now seen as one of the most important education fields to drive the country’s future towards sustainable development and meet the needs of Industry 4.0.
“This is certainly a wise and timely move to elevate the country’s economy effectively towards Industry 4.0 through an effective education system. The combination of automated assembly line, the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) requires highly skilled workers highly proficient in ICT. It will also lessen our dependency on foreign workforce while elevating our workers’ competitiveness and earning powers,” he said.
“There is a need for us to explore ways the quality and marketability of TVET graduates through the digital industry and information technology which will become the major industry platform in the next number of years,” he continued. “Technology trends such as the Internet, artificial intelligence and virtual reality serve as key skills especially in building work for the younger generation.”
Lecturers, educators and instructors at TVET institutions should be prepared to face the global challenges in a bid to realise the country’s aspiration to become a developed nation, he said.
He affirmed that lecturers, educators and instructors should not confine themselves to the existing knowledge in their field. “We know that many are very talented, however they must be willing to learn and re-learn and keep abreast with be latest competencies and skill sets required by the industries.”
“TVET is a big step that requires time, investment, cooperation and support from many parties needed to achieve this agenda. The close social partnership between government, industry and TVET institutions plays a vital role to make it an effective mechanism for TVET in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”
The director noted that Industry 4.0 requires not only highly skilled workers, but also a workforce with high ICT and digital proficiency. “Therefore, TVET has to be made first choice for some best students, revamping the traditional thinking of TVET as merely the choice for less capable students and academic drop-outs, in order to meet future societal and technology challenges.”
“The Fourth Industrial Revolution requires us to shift from the traditional rigid TVET training system to a more flexible and open one to meet the fast changing requirements of the industries,” he said. “In order to tackle challenges that TVET faces in the wake of Industry 4.0, close cooperation with the industries is a must.”
“Joint development of occupational standards, flexibility in developing and adjusting training programmes as well as autonomy on the side of the TVET institutes to do so are the key for TVET delivery in the future,” he added.