The Colombo Plan Staff College (CPSC), on the first phase of the three-tier validation process of the CPSC Corporate Plan 2013-2018, recently concluded the Eminent Experts' Group Meeting (EEGM), held at CPSC on October 1 to 3, 2015. The meeting convened 24 eminent experts representing the governments of Bangladesh, Bhutan, Fiji, India, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Thailand. Apart from representatives from CPSC member countries, experts from international organizations such as the Asian Development Bank (ADB), UNESCO-Bangkok Office and UNESCO-UNEVOC Bonn as well as local industries like Toyota Motors Philippines, Inc., and ASA (Hope) Philippines, Inc. also took part in the significant consultative planning process of the College.
Led by CPSC Officer-in-Charge, Prof. Dr. G. Kulanthaivel with the assistance of the CPSC Short-term Faculty Consultant Dr. Romulita Alto, the midterm review and validation process of the existing corporate plan was sealed with new proposals, recommendations and new perspectives in line with the post 2015 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). On 25 September, 2015, the 193 countries of the UN General Assembly adopted the 2030 Development Agenda titled "Transforming our world". The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also called Global Goals with 17 Goals have been adopted. Among these, the Goal No. 4 is, Quality Education: Ensure inclusive and Equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning for all. The CorPlan of CPSC communicates the institutional strategy that describes the blueprint of action to chart CPSC's future directions and targets for TVET in the region.
In addition to highlighting CPSC's performance in various areas, the EEGM 2015 served as a platform for ground setting of the organization's directions for the remaining two years and build upon lessons learned from the current CorPlan implementation. It aims to reorient the organization in view of the TVET systems' emerging trends and needs in the different countries in the Asia-Pacific region and prepare for future needs and scenarios in the light of regional and global contexts. The meeting was also designed to discuss specific concerns and recommend structural and other enhancements necessary to effectively operationalize the CPSC corporate strategies.
The Experts acknowledged and appreciated the accomplishments and initiatives of CPSC vis-a-vis set goals and targets despite limitations in resources and operational difficulties. Some proposals and enhancements on the strategies and objectives, suggestions on addressing certain administrative issues and concerns as well as pledges and assurances to actively support various endeavors of the College were put forward by all the experts and attendees of the meeting. These recommendations will be compiled by the Secretariat and will be submitted to the Senior Administrators' Conference (SAC) for further validation as the second phase of the corporate planning process.
Representing Her Excellency Kok Li Peng, Chairperson of CPSC Governing Board and Ambassador of the Republic of Singapore to the Philippines, was Mr. Scott Loh, Deputy Chief of Mission and Counsellor of the Singapore Embassy as Chief Guest during the Inaugural Ceremonies. He expressed his appreciation to CPSC and his commitment towards a closer cooperation between Singapore and other countries in the region particularly in the field of education and development.
Inaugural guests and resource persons also include two former Director Generals of the College: Prof. Dr. Shyamal Majumdar who currently leads UNESCO-UNEVOC based in Bonn, Germany and Dr. Mohammad Naim bin Yaakub who now heads the TVET Special Projects at the Department of Polytechnic Education, Ministry of Higher Education Malaysia. Both provided valuable insights and information on CPSC's experiences that substantiated enthusiastic discussions and overall facilitation of the event.
Prof. Dr. G. Kulanthaivel presented the highlights of the first two years of the CorPlan 2013-2018 implementation, covering fiscal years 2013-2014 and 2014-2015. He spoke on the recently released Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), membership management of CPSC and external linkages, training programs, internal developments and the issues that of utmost importance to CPSC and its stakeholders.
In his special presentation, Dr. Naim discussed the different initiatives that CPSC pursued during his administration particularly the establishment of the Association of APACC Accreditees (AAA) and CPSC Asia Pacific Technical and Vocational Education Centers (CAPTVEC). He outlined the methodologies and benefits to the member countries, as well as its impact on further encouraging solidarity among member countries and gearing them up into one and united aspiration for TVET.
Two groups of participants also gave presentations on the roundtable discussions gathered from the "Regional Program on Enhancing the Responsiveness of TVET: Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals" held from September 28 to 30, 2015. The presentations tackled issues on program priorities, thrust areas and initiatives to enhance the responsiveness of TVET and promoting organizational sustainability and relevance to address future challenges.
On the other hand, Dr. Majumdar presented the different strategies that CPSC can adopt in repositioning itself in the light of a Post-2015 scenario. His presentation touched on areas such as organizational relevance and strengthening the organization in addressing the overarching goal of a Post-2015 world, which is to "ensure equitable and inclusive quality education and lifelong learning opportunities for all by 2030". He also shared some of UNESCO's goals in prioritizing TVET.
Shri Shashi Prakash Goyal, Joint Secretary (TEL/HE) of the Department of Higher Education, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India, was elected Chairperson of the EEGM and led facilitation of the meeting agenda and presentations of group discussions.
The second day of the EEGM discussed areas of major concern to CPSC’s operations. These four topics include:
- a. Strengthening CPSC’s TVET programs for the Member States: Program Priority and Thrust in Post 2015
- b. Strengthening internal capacity and governance of CPSC: Challenges and Way Forward
- c. Financial sustainability of CPSC: Issues and Challenges
- d. Partnership and Networking: Modalities and Thrust
The results of the discussions on these four issues formed the core of the recommendations of the EEGM delegates for presentation to the upcoming SAC in December 2015.
The participants also visited the headquarters of ASA Philippines Foundation Inc. in Ortigas during their study tour on October 3, 2015. The delegation was warmly received by Mr. Kamrul Tarafder, the President of ASA Philippines Foundation, Inc.
The participants were briefed about the activities and performance of ASA Philippines, as well as their impact in revitalizing communities particularly those hit by Typhoon Haiyan in 2013. Particular areas covered during the study tour include microfinancing, community development and sustainable livelihoods that are financed by small loans facilitated by ASA Philippines.