The Colombo Plan Staff College for Technician Education (CPSC) joins the international community in echoing the call for mainstreaming TVET in the global transition towards green economy.
In partnership with global leaders, UNESCO-UNEVOC International Centre for TVET in Bonn and the GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit -Human Capacity Development in TVET / UNEVOC Centre Magdeburg), CPSC co-organized an International Consultation Meeting on "Transforming TVET for Meeting the Challenges of the Green Economy" held at the United Nations Campus in Bonn, Germany from 27th to 30th October 2011.
Through the rich exchange of views, perspectives and lessons learnt among 21 countries represented from across five major regions including Europe, the Americas, Asia-Pacific, Africa and the Middle East, the meeting achieved its aim of providing a platform to elaborate on key thematic issues sought to be discussed in the meeting, including a) transition to green economy and the role of TVET, b) emerging green occupations and implications for TVET, c) international and regional cooperation frameworks and perspectives on transforming TVET for the green economy, and d) country perspectives on policies, achievements, best practices and challenges in transforming TVET for the green economy.
Discussions were led by international organizations with specific concern on TVET including UNEVOC, CPSC, GIZ, International Labor Organization (ILO) and the European Training Foundation (ETF). The meeting was supported locally by the GIZ through the Human Capacity Development Division and the UNEVOC Centre Magdeburg. Other German agencies also provided support including the German Association for Water (DWA) which arranged the study visits to various water and waste water treatment facilities; the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), and the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). Delegates and attendees were from Belarus, Bhutan, Egypt, Fiji, Gambia, Germany, Italy, Rep. of Korea, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Mexico, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka and USA.
The meeting provided opportunities for countries to share the various initiatives and best practices undertaken by their respective governments to transform institutional structures, formulate policies and implement strategies to address the requirements of the green economy. Where initiatives are lacking, some countries gained insights and valuable perspectives particularly from advanced economies with ongoing initiatives in preparing the workforce for the greening of society and economy. The meeting leveraged on the possible replication of best practices, paradigm shift, and green agenda setting in TVET sector in the context of country needs and resources.
CPSC for its part highlighted regional and international cooperation frameworks that served as firm bases for the emancipation of the drive to orient TVET systems with the green agenda. In his keynote presentation on regional cooperation, Dr. Mohammad Naim Yaakub, CPSC Director General, elaborated on CPSC's plan to contribute in the capacity building of its member countries and incorporate green TVET indicators into the quality assurance system of the Asia-Pacific Accreditation and Certification Commission (APACC), which currently functions under CPSC in further harnessing the greening of TVET across CPSC member countries. CPSC also identifies among its plans the creation of more opportunities for partnership with private sector and social enterprises and the continuous drive in implementing green campus drive within CPSC.
In his opening remarks during inauguration, Dr Naim described the great bio-capacity and potential of the Asia-Pacific region in offsetting the ecological footprint, and in making or breaking the green movement. He underscored the crucial role of working in synergy with key partners, stating that it is necessary to transform, reform or re-orient TVET in the context of the green economy. In the process, he said, no country or region will be isolated or insulated from the effects of unabated environmental degradation.
UNESCO-UNEVOC Head, Prof. Dr. Shyamal Majumdar, called upon all players to support the formulation of a comprehensive greening TVET framework that connects institutional, national and international frameworks for sustainable development and consolidate the seemingly fragmented initiatives surrounding transitions to green economy and society. He also championed the need to build upon five key dimensions of greening TVET which are Green Campus, Green Curriculum, Green Research, Green Community and Green Culture.
The ILO and other key organizations have shared the identified green occupations and green jobs which have been shifting competences in the labor market to those oriented to sustainable development. Participants were also exposed to the success factors of Germany’s development of training regulations and VET qualifications relevant to green sector development. Visits to the German Association for Water (DWA) facilities including the Drinking Water Reservoir in Bonn and a community-based wastewater treatment plant showcased German technological advancements, research and training innovations in ensuring sustainable water management under public sector.
Based on the substantive input drawn from the meeting and study visits, three working groups were formed to brainstorm on the thematic areas and identify future actions, strategies and priorities in the context of policy and framework, curriculum and programs, networking and capacity development.
At the end of the meeting, three action points were agreed upon to elevate greening TVET into the mainstream education and training agenda. First is the need to finalize a policy framework that will set in motion the development of a formal guide document to pursue transformations to a greener TVET. Secondly, continue creating opportunities for developing capacities through the development of toolkits or institutional level frameworks relevant to realize micro-level objectives relevant to greening TVET. Thirdly, continue networking to further promote strategies for greening TVET. At the country level, delegates were encouraged to organize sensitization activities, disseminate ideas on wider scale and echo the substantive input gained from the meeting.
In consensus, attendees agreed that in view of the emerging economic, social and environmental agenda linked with sustainable development, meeting the requirements of the green economy has been elevated from being an advocacy to a necessity, and is no longer an option but an imperative.
Report of the meeting and papers presented are under finalization and will be made available through the CPSC and the UNESCO-UNEVOC websites. The output of the meeting will serve as input to subsequent processes to be undertaken by UNEVOC, UNESCO’s specialized agency for TVET, to chart the overall approach in synergy with partner organizations GIZ, CPSC, ETF and the ILO.
CPSC joined hands with UNEVOC and GIZ in organizing and managing the implementation of this fourth Special Program in Germany. Dr. Mohammad Naim Yaakub acted as the head of the delegation, keynote speaker, and panel chair; Prof. Rajesh Khambayat, as Program Coordinator; Prof. TJ Gayondato acted as the master of ceremonies and one of the session chairs; and Ms. Kenneth Barrientos functioned as Chief Rapporteur of the meeting.