Rekindling ties and forging alliances anew with development agency Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the Colombo Plan Staff College paid a visit and initiated a meeting with JICA officials at their headquarters in Makati, Philippines on June 6, 2014.

Dr. Mohammad Naim Yaakub, Director General of CPSC met with JICA Officials, namely, Mr. Niwa Noriaki, Chief Representative of JICA Philippines Office; Ms. Flerida Chan, Senior Program Officer and Section Chief of the Poverty Reduction Section, Human Security Group; and Ms. Judie Ann Militar, Senior Program Officer of the Human Security Group.

Dr. Naim was accompanied by Dr. Hidetoshi Miyakawa professor at the College of Contemporary Education in Chubu University, Japan and the former Adviser for Industrial Technology Education of JICA.

This momentous event enabled the two organizations to further explore activities for linkages and cooperation in the field of human resources development in the region. One of such is JICA’s proposal of supporting the implementation of Senior High School system in selected vocational schools in the Philippines. This project is in compliance with the Department of Education’s memorandum urging the extensive preparation of all public schools in the country for the implementation of this system. As an important component of the K-12 program currently pursued by the Philippine government, the Senior High School system targets the integration of the vocational education curriculum into basic education, enabling the students to acquire necessary skills and employable qualifications for whatever career path they choose.

CPSC also proposed a greater role in contributing to this project through the Asia Pacific Accreditation and Certification Commission (APACC). One improvement that CPSC can introduce includes the assistance in the implementation of effective quality standards for management, teaching and operation using regionally accepted guidelines as benchmarks. CPSC also formally invited JICA to present their best papers in the upcoming conference on Skills Development for Poverty Alleviation (SDPA) which was tentatively scheduled on November, 2014.

As a specialized agency of the Colombo Plan, CPSC shares the aspiration and vision of JICA of inclusive and dynamic development. Its long history of providing assistance to the governments and agencies in the region has been proven through the years, with social and economic improvement as their major advocacies.

Mr. Akihiko Tanaka, JICA president, cites JICA’s activities which include “continuing (their) traditional cooperation projects, but also forging new alliances and partnerships, exploring new approaches to new challenges and creating new ideas and ‘knowledge centers' between Japanese and overseas experts, academics, technicians and private business”. As an organization also embarking on parallel activities, CPSC sees this opportunity as a joint effort in promoting an accessible TVET that is focused on a development based on inclusivity, efficiency and innovation to achieve a long lasting and sound economic and social development in the region.

Dr. Naim presents a special token to Mr. Noriaki (left) and the meeting with the rest of the JICA team on future collaborative activities (right)