Bridging the Boundary between Education and ICT Employment

Image source: http://www.unescobkk.org/typo3temp/pics/96fbf3dd15.jpg

Image source: http://www.unescobkk.org/typo3temp/pics/96fbf3dd15.jpg

Youth unemployment is a particular problem throughout Asia-Pacific countries, with 220 million unemployed, leading policymakers to consider improvements to Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET).

The UNESCO Asia-Pacific Conference on Education and Training recently brought 1,000 participants from a variety of Asian countries to Kuala Lumpur to discuss possibilities for further developing TVET in these countries. According to Dato Seri DiRaja Mahdzir bin Khalid, Ministers discussed the concept of TVET as an opportunity to “mainstream education to ensure the youths are equipped with skills, which will make them more enjoyable for current and future job markets.”

Other intergovernmental arenas have already discussed TVET or other educational prospects for improving employment among youth, including the Shanghai Consensus and the Education forum in Korea. However, until now, many of these have focused on university-level educational initiatives.

In contrast, the Kuala Lumpur Declaration, which came out of this meeting, discusses “Quality Education and Skills Development for a Sustainable Future,” with a focus on TVET. Dr. Gwang-Jo Kim, Director of UNESCO Bangkok says, “To unleash the true potential of TVET, we need to work towards strengthening TVET systems to enhance its relevance and attractiveness as an equally, if not better learning path.”

TVET education in the region will focus on ICT training and other critical skills for the job market. This sector is quickly growing and is in line with the region’s focus on sustainable economic growth.

According to Qian Tang, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Education, this year “represents an opportunity for TVET transformation. It is meant to be a year of global action, the year we make history, the year we move the world towards a more sustainable and equitable future.”

Source: Preciosa S. Soliven, The Philippine Star