In collaboration with the Department of Polytechnic and Community Colleges (DPCCE) under the Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE), the Colombo Plan Staff College successfully convened 20 distinguished and esteemed TVET administrators and experts from its member countries for the Experts Meeting and Regional Program on TVET Strategic Planning.

The 5-day proceedings were held at the Best Western Hotel in i-City, Shah Alam, Malaysia from November 7-11, 2022. Representatives from Bangladesh, Bhutan, Fiji, India, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Sri Lanka and Thailand were able to take part in the program.

This program is the second phase of CPSC’s preparations for the Strategic Plan 2023-2028 and will involve technical experts from the field of TVET to further scrutinize its contents and align it to the aspirations of the member countries’ TVET agenda. This program will also be a good opportunity for the representatives to physically meet and discuss certain issues that may affect the future implementation of TVET in their countries, taking into account the regional context.

Furthermore, they are expected to: (1) Comprehend the role and significance of a strategic plan in the development of a TVET institution; (2) Understand the role and significance of the strategic plan’s elements such as vision, mission, strategic goals, and objectives, and be able to formulate a draft of those elements and lastly, (3) Provide check-and-balance controls for the vision, mission, strategic goals, and objectives drafted by the NCW participants and ensure that the outputs that they will draft are linked with the previous findings.

The program’s overall preparations and organization was supervised by the CPSC Director General, Prof. G.LD Wickramasinghe and his Malaysian counterpart, the Acting Director General of DPCCE, Dato' Prof. Dr. Husaini bin Omar. Program coordination was executed by Dr. Kesavan Ulaganathen, CPSC’s GB-Engaged Faculty Consultant. Additional program requirements were delivered by CPSC resource persons namely: Dr Mian Khuram Ahsan, Senior Faculty Consultant of CPSC and Mr. Rae Emmanuel Echaveria, Research, Publications and Information Officer of CPSC. Local coordination was facilitated by Mohd. Saiful Nizam bin Khalid, Deputy Director- Competency Development Unit of DPCCE.

Opening Ceremony

Prof. Wickramasinghe (left) and Dr. Shamsuri bin Abdullah (right) delivering their speeches during the Opening Ceremony.

The program was formally opened on November 7, 2022 and was attended by all participants and key officials from DPCCE. The Chief Guest was the Director of the TVET Coordination Division of DPCCE, Dr. Shamsuri Abdullah. He mentioned the productive partnership between DPCCE and CPSC and hopes for more areas for collaboration in the future. He also lauded the CPSC management and the member countries for continuing its quest for institutional improvement and encouraged every institution in the member countries to consider subscribing to the Asia-Pacific Accreditation and Certification Commission (APACC).

His observations were seconded by Prof. Wickramasinghe, who reiterated the call to pursue TVET institutional improvement, in addition to his topic on public-private partnership.

Dr. Zubaidah binti Ahman (left) receiving tokens from Prof. Wickramasinghe and Dr. Kesavan.
Dr. Shamsuri bin Abdullah (third from left) receiving tokens from Prof. Wickramasinghe, Dr. Ahsan and Dr. Kesavan.

In addition to the aforementioned names, the program was also supported by key experts from the Malaysian TVET system, particularly Dr. Zubaidah binti Ahman, the former Deputy Director General of DPCC. whose lecture focused on fundamentals of strategic planning in the context of Malaysian TVET. Meanwhile, Dr. Shamsuri went back to the conference on the second day to deliver his lecture into the in-depth discussion about Malaysia’s TVET System.
During her lecture, Dr. Zubaidah was able to discuss the strategic planning methods that the Malaysian TVET system undergoes prior to implementation. She also discussed several highlights of the Malaysian TVET system particularly the different economic plans that are used as its basis.

Dr. Shamsuri’s lecture meanwhile, focused on the best practices of the Malaysian TVET system and key highlights of its TVET policy and strategic management.
The invited delegates also presented a 15-minute situation report about their country’s respective TVET Systems and what CPSC can further do in order to assist its implementation.

Country Paper Presentation

The participants were also able to present a 15-minute powerpoint presentation addressing the different challenges, issues, and best practices of their respective TVET systems, as well as strategies and recommendations for CPSC in the coming five years. They were also provided an opportunity to address their fellow delegates with regards to crafting new directions for their respective TVET systems through an open forum held afterwards.

Representatives from Bhutan, Fiji, Mongolia and Sri Lanka (left to right) presenting the status of their TVET systems to the rest of the participants.

Seminar on TVET 21st Century Strategy and Workshop Proper

To further maximize the lessons of the program and invite additional participants, CPSC held an International Seminar on TVET 21st Century Strategy on November 9, 2022. A total of 15 local participants from the different APACC accredited institutes were able to attend. In addition, 5 staff members of the Malaysian Technical Development Authority (MTDA) also attended the program.

The speakers are the two recent Director-Generals of CPSC, namely Dr. Shyamal Majumdar (the 10th CPSC DG) and Dr Md. Naim Yakkub (the 11th CPSC DG). They were invited to discuss TVET Strategies on a Global Perspective and TVET on Digital Skills in the 21st Century, respectively.

Dr. Shyamal Majumdar (left) and Dr. Md. Naim bin Yaakub (right) during their respective lectures

In addition, they also addressed the queries of the participants through a forum and panel discussion in conjunction of International Seminar. The speakers also emphasized the need to act on the benefits and challenges of the 21st century towards the reinvention of TVET and the change in mindset.

After the half-day seminar, the participants now embarked on the workshop proper in which they unanimously selected Prof. Shyam Sundar Patnaik, Director of NITTTR Chandigarh, India, as the workshop chairperson. The 20 participants were divided into two groups based on CPSC’s proposed goals as they tried to craft the activities and strategies based on the inputs provided by CPSC.

The panel comprising of CPSC Director-Generals (from left to right): Dr. Md. Naim bin Yaakub, 10th CPSC Director General from Malaysia; Prof. G.L.D. Wickramasinghe, 12th Director General from Sri Lanka and Dr. Shyamal Majumdar, 9th CPSC Director General from India.

Workshop participants during some of the energizers and during the program workshop proper in which they crafted the CPSC Strategic Plan 2023-2028.

The participants were divided into four (4) different groups to work on each specific goal of the Strategic Plan.

Closing and Study Visit

The closing ceremony was conducted on November 10, 2022 and was spearheaded by the director and the workshop chairperson, Dr. Shyam Sundar Patnaik from NITTTR Chandigarh, India. He was able to confirm the validity of results and endorsed the results to the next phase of the CPSC Strategic Plan 2023-2028 preparation.

Dr. Shyam Sundar Patnaik from India, the Workshop Chairperson, presenting the results of the Experts’ Meeting to the participants
Mr. Roslee bin Yahaya from DPCCE delivering his closing remarks as the Chief Guest of the Closing Ceremony

The chief guest of the Closing Ceremony is Encik Roslee bin Yahaya, Senior Director for Governance from DPCCE. In his speech, he reiterated DPCCE’s support to CPSC’s endeavors and hopes for more collaborative events in the future.
On November 11, 2022, the participants were invited to embark on a study visit to the Politeknik Shah Alam (PSA), an APACC Accredited Institute with a Gold-Level certification. The one-day visit enabled PSA to showcase their institution’s best practices to the delegates with the hope of it being replicated in their home countries.

Participants during their Institutional Visit to Politeknik Shah Alam (PSA) in Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia.

The participants at the conference room during their visit to Politeknik Shah Alam (PSA).

The participants during the special dinner hosted by CPSC and DPCCE.

Visit of the participants to the mechanical workshop (right) and the biomedical laboratories (left)