In collaboration with Labtech International, the Colombo Plan Staff College successfully organized a Regional Program on the Training of Trainers on Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration. This was held from August 30-September 3, 2021. A total of 21 TVET lecturers of HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning) from Bangladesh, Bhutan, Fiji, India, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, and Thailand participated in the program. Lecturers from the Institute of Diploma Engineers Bangladesh (IDEB), one of CPSC’s Partner Organization Members, also participated in the program.

Group photo of the participants together with the CPSC and Labtech officials and staff

The course provided an introduction for HVAC instructors on Virtual TVET, with the objective of familiarizing the participants in use of Virtual TVET and monitor the progress and grades of learners within and across institutions. The expected outcome of the program is to encourage the participants to apply a hybrid approach in teaching HVAC through the application of new technologies that maximizes online instruction.

Supervising the program are Dr. Ramhari Lamichhane and Prof. G.L.D. Wickramasinghe, the outgoing and incoming Director General of CPSC respectively, together with Dr. Steven McKee, President of the WorldDidac Association and Founder of Labtech International. The program coordinator and resource person of the program is Mr. Brad Kerr, lecturer from Labtech International.

During the opening ceremony held on August 30, Dr. Lamichhane welcomed the participants and mentioned that there is a need for TVET educators and providers to "think twice" about the vocational pedagogy and the need to impart knowledge in an innovative manner. He also mentioned the need to develop blended learning and hopes that the program will impart practical skills in a virtual environment.

Meanwhile, Dr. McKee emphasized the need to enhance the blended learning and digital skills of teachers in the region. He mentioned the ongoing transition towards digital learning and the need to provide more support to teachers and instructors to facilitate this transition in a better way. He hopes that more training programs similar to this will be available to more participants in the future.

Mr. Steve McKee of Labtech during his welcome speech.
Dr. Steve McKee, Mr. Alipate Gonerogo (participant from Fiji) and Mr. Brad Kerr discussing possible collaboration for future HVAC trainings.

During the five-day event, Dr. Ramhari presented the need for 21st century skills. The rest of the lectures were delivered by Mr. Brad Kerr and tackled topics such as digital TVET framework, navigating the TVET Learning Management System (LMS), creating a lesson plan using virtual TVET and, ongoing professional development through coaching. The training was delivered through synchronous online activities (‘virtual live’ e-learning sessions) like presentations and sharing sessions, demonstration of training tools, activities, and facilitated group and panel discussions.

Prof. Wickramasinghe during the closing ceremony.

The program held its closing ceremony on September 3, 2021. Prof. G.L.D. Wickramasinghe expressed his appreciation to all the participants, and highlighted the program’s success despite the limitations. He also expressed his hopes to do this program face-to-face in the future, and he looks forward to welcoming future participants in Manila. His message was also seconded by Dr. McKee who also hailed the program’s success in setting the pace towards the appreciation of virtual learning in TVET. He also mentioned the challenges of online learning and hopes that future learning will be more adaptive towards the challenges of virtual learning in the future.