The city of Pokhara, Nepal was the host of the Regional Program on Strengthening TVET Quality and Relevance through Institute-Industry Linkages from March 2-6, 2020. The program was participated by 26 TVET experts and administrators from Fiji, India, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka and Thailand. It was held at Hotel Barahi near the city’s famous Phewa Lake.

The participants from Thailand (left) and Sri Lanka (right) during the group work. The program, organized jointly by the Colombo Plan Staff College (CPSC) and the Council for Technical Education and Vocational Training (CTEVT), was founded with a realization that one of the biggest challenges in the TVET system in the region is the lack of industry-institute linkages. The training has imparted the fact that TVET institutions are not aligned with the needs of local industry and labor market, resulting in not only unemployment amongst the TVET graduates but shortage of skilled people for the local industry.

The RP and conference was able to examine the need to coordinate the efforts of TVET with industry to ensure the relevance of TVET programs and graduates’ readiness for the workplace. It recognizes industries as the key stakeholders in TVET and hence their needs should be considered in the development and delivery of relevant and quality TVET programs.

The program was supervised by Dr. Ramhari Lamichhane, CPSC Director General and Dr. Pushpa Rahman Wagle, CTEVT Member Secretary. Overall coordination and program resources was provided by Engr. Abdul Ghani Rajput, CPSC Faculty Specialist and assisted by Mr. Arturo Camba, CPSC Engineering Services Officer. Local arrangements meanwhile was facilitated by Engr. Anoj Bhattarai, Director of CTEVT.

CPSC and CTEVT Officials during the Opening Ceremony: Dr. G. Kulanthaivel (CPSC Former Faculty Consultant and OIC); Dr. Ramhari Lamichhane (CPSC Director General); Dr. Pushpa Rahman Wagle (Member Secretary, CTEVT) and Mr. Abdul Ghani Rajput (Faculty Specialist, CPSC).

During the five-day event, topics such as building industry-institution linkages (IIL), interventions to enhance IIL, innovative approaches and models in TVET for IIL, concepts, benefits and challenges of dual training system (DTS), as well as the development of action plans, were tackled by the resource persons. The participants were also asked to draft the SWOT Analysis, develop strategies for enhancing IIL, identify skills for youth employability and review the implementation of DTS in Nepal.

The participants during the classroom exercises.

The program also included a study visit to Machhapuchhre Metal and Machinery Works Ltd, Rupakot Resort Pvt. Ltd, and Pokhara Technical College. The visits were embarked to further expose the participants to actual IIL practices both in the industry and the institution.

International Conference on Strengthening Industry-Institution Linkages.

A total of 65 persons attended the aforementioned conference, which aimed to provide a timely opportunity to share knowledge and experiences on the TVET dimension of enhancing the IIL and to discuss the policy tools, the coordinating mechanisms and the scope of national and international educational and training strategies to deal with IIL.

The conference was also successful in promoting dialogue on the main themes towards the management of education and training standards; and strengthening cooperation among stakeholders for empowering future youth through skills development.

The event was inaugurated by the officials of CPSC and CTEVT led by Mr. Hari Prasad Basyal, Chief Secretary, Gandaki Province,Government of Nepal as the Chief Guest. In addition, Mr. Somlal Subedi, Former Chief Secretary, Government of Nepal and Dr. Rajendra Prasad Adhikari, TVET Expert were invited as guests and speakers for the conference. Dr. Pushpa Rahman Wagle, Member Secretary, CTEVT chaired the program.

As the Director General of CPSC, Dr. Lamichhane gave a keynote speech in the opening program of the conference. He highlighted the importance of TVET for socio-economic development, especially in Nepal which aims to improve its economic status in the coming years.

The conference was conducted in four sessions: (1) opening session; (2) role of TVET institutes; (3) role of local government and (4) role of industries and international practices. The panelists for the third session on industries role were Mr. Damu Adhikhari, President of the Pokhara Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Mr. Bikal Serchan, President of the Hotel Association, Pokhara; Mr. Raj Kumar KC, General Manager, Hotel Barahi and Dr. P. Malliga from NITTTR, Chennai, India. In addition, Engr. Rajput, CPSC Faculty Specialist presented a paper on preparing Nepalese Workers for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

The participants of the International Conference receiving their certificates of participation from CPSC

Some of the participants during the industry visit to Machhapuchhre Metal and Machinery Works Ltd, Pokhara, Nepal.

Panel Discussion with the Industries in Pokhara during the International Conference.

CPSC, CTEVT and other Nepalese officials during the International Conference