The Colombo Plan Staff College (CPSC) recently partnered with the Malaysian Technical Doctorate Association (MTDA) in implementing the first ever International Conference on TVET and Sustainable Development (ICTSDe) held on October 2, 2023 online. This research conference was initiated by the Staff College as part of its program line-up in celebration of its 50th anniversary (Golden Jubilee).

The research conference aimed to provide a platform for academicians, industry representatives, and students to expand their research networks as well as to showcase innovations and research works shared by researchers across Asia Pacific. The event, by convening scholars around Asia, geared towards the broad networking and exchange of ideas and experiences among TVET’s main players, industries, and practitioners.

The opening ceremony was cordially done in cooperation with MTDA and the Politeknik Sultan Salahuddin Selangor, Malaysia who provided the ICT facility for the ICSTDe Secretariat in conducting the event. MTDA Chairman, Ir. Dr. Mohamad Tarmizi Bin Abu Seman formally welcomed all participants and gave a short speech on behalf of the MTDA. Meanwhile, CPSC Senior Faculty Specialist, Engr. Dr. Mian Khuram Ahsan gave the welcome remarks on behalf of the CPSC Director General.

The organizers from MTDA and CPSC including MTDA Chairman Ir. Dr. Mohamad Tarmizi Bin Abu Seman (first from the top left) and CPSC Senior Faculty Specialist, Dr. Mian Khuram Ahsan (second from the top left) grace the opening ceremony

CPSC Director General Prof. G.L.D. Wickramasinghe imparts his keynote speech

The conference was divided into two main sessions: the keynote sessions by invited experts, and the breakout sessions where the conference participants presented their research titles. The first keynote session expert who delivered his speech was CPSC Director General, Prof. G.L.D. Wickramasinghe. His address focused on the topic, Sustainable Development in TVET Education through Innovative Practices. He primarily emphasized how the 21st century learning and teaching pedagogies should adapt to the fast changing nature of TVET, e.g. digitalization of education and alignment of TVET curricula to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Prof. Dr. G. Kulanthaivel, Head, Center for International Affairs of the National Institute of Technical Teachers Training and Research (NITTTR) Chennai, India, and former CPSC Faculty Consultant delivered the second presentation. His topic focused on ICT-Enabled Teaching and Learning in the Industry 4.0 Era. He introduced some ICT tools such as Mentimeter that teachers can use as part of their methodologies in teaching students.

NITTTR-Chennai Head of Centre for International Affairs, Prof. Dr. G. Kulanthaivel delivers his keynote speech

Lastly, the third keynote speaker for the first session was Associate Prof. Dr. Wan Rahiman from the Universiti Sains Malaysia, Engineering Campus in Penang. His presentation focused on the topic: Implications of Industry 4.0 on Skills Development, where he tackled some of the trends, challenges, and innovations of Malaysian institutes in the promotion of IR 4.0 to upskill trainers and TVET practitioners.

The plenary sessions that were held afterwards were categorized into five thematic areas: (1) Built Environment, Engineering, Computing and Technology; (2) Sustainability and Green Technology; (3) Education, TVET, and Social Science; (4) Tourism and Hospitality; and (5) Business, Entrepreneurship, and Leadership. Each plenary session was moderated and chaired by the members of the MTDA. A total of 68 research papers were presented within the mentioned five areas.

In addition, a research paper was presented to the conference by the CPSC’s Research, Publications, and Information Division (RPID) chaired by the CPSC Governing Board-Engaged Faculty Consultant, Dr. Kesavan Ulaganathen. The paper, entitled Trends, challenges, and innovations of APACC-accredited TVET institutions in Asia Pacific based on the established APACC criteria, co-authored by Dr. Ulaganathen, and RPID Acting Officer, Mr. Paulo Anthony Mendoza aims to discuss general points of convergence on the seven criteria between the accredited-institutions based on the final evaluation reports during the onsite/online accreditation exercises conducted from 2008 to 2023. The paper was presented virtually by Dr. Ulaganathen during the plenary session. Following his presentation, he was conferred one of the Best Presenter Awards by the organizers.

CPSC GB-Engaged Faculty Consultant, Dr. Kesavan Ulaganathen presents the research paper titled Trends, Challenges, and Innovations of APACC-Accredited TVET Institutions in Asia Pacific based on the established APACC criteria

All papers submitted and presented in the conference will be published in the upcoming e-conference proceedings. Other opportunities for publication are also given to the presenters to publish their research papers in relevant journals such as the Advanced Journal of Technical and Vocational Education, CPSC’s Scholarly Technical Education Publication Series (STEPS), Journal of Engineering and Science Research, Journal of Social Science and Humanities, International Journal of Business and Management, International Journal of Technical Vocational and Engineering Technology.