In collaboration with the Office of Vocational Education Commission (OVEC), the Colombo Plan Staff College successfully convened 16 Senior Executives in Bangkok, Thailand for the Regional Program on Leadership for Sustainable TVET and Senior Executives Conference. This program is the third phase of CPSC’s preparations for the Strategic Plan 2023-2028 and will involve Senior Executives from the field of TVET to review and discuss its contents and align it to the aspirations of the member countries’ TVET agenda.

The program was held from December 12-16, 2022 at Al-Meroz Hotel in Bangkok Thailand. A total of 16 TVET CEOs, Liaison Officers and Ministry Representatives attended the program, representing the following CPSC member countries: Bhutan, India, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

The meeting activities are directed towards exposure visits to the best practices Institutes of Thailand and to review the formulation of a draft vision, mission statement, and strategic goals and objectives formulated during the National Consultation Workshop (NCW) held in the Philippines and ratified through an Experts’ Meeting (EM) conducted in Malaysia for the benefit of TVET Authorities of member countries.

These strategic plans will aid in the advancement of these institutes by laying out the needs and strategies that will address present and anticipated challenges. At the end of the training and conference session, the participants validated the output of both the NCW and EM to come up with the final CPSC Strategic Plan 2023-2028 for the 114th Governing board decision that would respond to the needs and challenges of TVET in the region.

The program was supervised by the CPSC Director General, Prof. G.L.D. Wickramasinghe and the Secretary-General of OVEC, Acting Sub Lt. Thanu Vongjinda. Program resources on CPSC’s side were provided by Engr. Dr. Mian Khuram Ahsan, Senior Faculty Specialist of CPSC. Meanwhile, local coordination was facilitated by Mr. Laksasak Yangsaman, Acting Director of OVEC’s International Strategy and External Relations Division and Dr. Paiboon Saiyawongs, APACC Special Officer for Thailand. Other preparations were also facilitated by Dr. Rangsan Thepmondhri, Director of the International Strategy and External Relations Division of the Bureau of Policy and Planning, OVEC. In addition, program support was provided by Mr. Rae Emmanuel Echaveria, Research, Publications and Information Officer of CPSC and Mr. Jan Michael Marasigan, Executive Secretary to the CPSC Director General.

The program was officially opened on December 12, 2023 and was graced by Mrs. Pattama Weeranwanit, Advisor to the Office of the Vocational Education Commission (OVEC). She reiterated OVEC’s continued support and commitment to CPSC’s endeavors in Thailand and in the region and wished for the productive proceedings. The program’s purpose and significance was discussed by CPSC’s Director General, Prof. G.L.D. Wickramasinghe in his opening speech. He also discussed the need to further involve CPSC’s Liaison Officers in CPSC’s activities in the future.

Guests during the Opening Ceremony: Mrs. Pattama Weeranwanit, Adviser to OVEC (left) and Prof. G.L.D. Wickramasinghe (right) both delivering their opening remarks.

Prof. Wickramasinghe also presented CPSC’s performance during the present Strategic Plan 2018-2023 and Dr. Ahsan also presented his take on Sustainable TVET Strategies on a Global Perspective. To further supplement the presentations, some of the countries were asked to share key highlights of their TVET systems to the rest of the audience. The Philippines, represented by Mr. El Cid Castillo (Provincial Director of TESDA Provincial Office, Sarangani), discussed the country’s experience on Skill Migration and TVET Branding. Malaysia, as represented by Pn. Noor Aidi binti Nadzri (Director of Politeknik Ibrahim Sultan) presented about her country’s experience on TVET Accreditation and Quality Assurance. Meanwhile, Prof. Usha Natesan (Director of NITTTR Chennai), presented India’s best practices on digital and virtual TVET.

Country Presentations (clockwise starting from the right) from Malaysia, India and the Philippines were intended to share some of the highlights of their TVET systems to the rest of the member countries.

The 5-day event also included key institutional visits, notably at the Siam Business and Administration College (SBAC) located in Sai Mai, Bangkok on December 13, 2022. SBAC is an educational institution affiliated with Siam Computer and Language School, which was the first pioneering institution in the field of teaching comprehension and foreign languages in Thailand in 1979. They aim to provide vocational Thai students with expertise in languages and theology for them to be able to pursue a career both in Thailand and abroad. It is also an APACC-Accredited Institution, having obtained their Gold-Level certification in 2017.

The delegation also visited the headquarters of OVEC in Dusit, Bangkok on December 14, 2022 in which they were able to be briefed about the Thai Vocational and Educational systems by the invited Directors from different Thai vocational institutes.

On the same day, the delegation was also able to visit the headquarters of the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) located in Pathum Thani province in which they were able to meet the key officials and forge possible connections which may benefit their respective countries in the future. They were also toured around the surrounding facilities and briefed about the services of the institute, which included providing technical expertise to engineering projects around the Asia-Pacific region.

Study Visits during RP Thailand (top to bottom): SBAC-Thailand, OVEC and Asian Institute of Technology.

The findings of the delegation from the Experts’ Meeting were reviewed by the delegates on December 16, 2022. The panel elected Dr. Usha Natesan, Director of the National Institute for Technical Teachers’ Training (NITTTR)- Chennai, India as the Chairperson of the delegation. Through Dr. Natesan, the members of the delegation were able to review and improve the CPSC Strategic Plan 2023-2028, as well as recommend its implementation to the 114th CPSC Governing Board.

The closing ceremony commenced after the ratification of the findings of the Senior Executives and was graced by Mr. Somporn Pandam, the Deputy Secretary General of OVEC. Participants from Pakistan, Papua New Guinea and Mongolia provided their feedback on the program and were unanimous in their appreciation to the organizers for the excellent and meaningful proceedings.

In addition to the classroom sessions and study visits, the participants were able to experience the best of the city’s tourist sites through a visit to the Grand Palace and a nighttime cruise along Chao Phraya River.

The participants at Bangkok’s Grand Palace.

International Seminar on Leadership and Strategy for Sustainable TVET

To further supplement the lessons of the program, CPSC and OVEC organized a half-day seminar on Leadership and Strategy for Sustainable TVET on December 15, 2022. A total of 68 invited guests, mostly from Thai vocational schools, attended the event.

The international seminar aims to bring together additional participants in order to share and discuss emerging challenges and best practices as shared by selected TVET experts. For this program, experts from Singapore are invited to share their country’s experience and best practices particularly on “Image Building” and “Strategies on Transformation to Workplace Learning for Future-Ready TVET”, with the aim of replicating and learning from the Singaporean model in implementing strategies for Sustainable TVET.

The seminar venue with the participants

The invited guests were: (1) Mr. Tan Seng Hua, the Senior Consultant and Former CEO of the ITE Education Services, Singapore and (2) Dr. Joel Lee, Director and Dean of the School of Applied Science, Nanyang Polytechnic, Singapore. The two guests discussed TVET Image Building: Singapore’s Success Story and Strategies on the Transformation to Workplace Learning for Future-Ready TVET, respectively.

After their presentations, a panel was convened to answer the queries of the respondents. The panel was composed of Dr. Rangsan Thepmondhri, Director of the Policy Strategy Division of OVEC and Prof. G.L.D. Wickramasinghe, CPSC Director General, as well as the two guest speakers. The discussion was moderated by Engr. Dr. Mian Khuram Ahsan, CPSC Senior Faculty Specialist and Program Coordinator.

Picture of the participants with the panel