Iraqi Delegation gets new insights on Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) in ASEAN countries
23-29 September 2016, 17 Iraqi senior government officials, participated in a study tour to Malaysia, organized by the UNESCO Iraq Office, to explore new ways of reforming TVET in light of globalization, knowledge economy, technology advances and global labor mobility. The Iraqi delegation was comprised of representatives of the Prime Minister Advisory Commission (PMAC), Ministries of Planning, Education, Higher Education and Scientific Research, Labour and Social Affairs, technical universities, as well as representatives from the Iraqi private sector.
“Witnessing ASEAN TVET students demonstrating technical skills during the ASEAN Skills Competition was an eye opener. We are very much looking forward to participate in the upcoming international skills competition that will take place next year in Abu Dhabi”, said one Iraqi official. The delegation attended two important international events namely the regional ASEAN Skills Competition (ASC) 2016, which occurs every two years, and the ASEAN TVET conference 2016 (ATVETC 2016). During these two events, the delegation was exposed to the most advanced technologies in TVET. ASEAN TVET students competed both individually and collectively to execute specific tasks in 25 vocational categories. Moreover, Iraqi officials exchanged views with different TVET delegations from ASEAN countries on industry involvement, relevance of TVET curricula and the role of Public-Private Partnership in implementing TVET systems.
In addition, field visits were organized to different Malaysian TVET institutions including Vocational College Sungei Buloh, Polytech Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah, Advance Technology and Training Center and the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA). The importance of having a flexible demand-driven TVET system was demonstrated during the field visits.
A final meeting allowed to share main findings and thoughts on how the experience of ASEAN countries could be applied for the reform of the TVET sub-sector in Iraq "We had a great opportunity to meet main TVET actors in Malaysia and from other ASEAN countries. What impressed me most, is girls and women’s access and participation in the Malaysian TVET system. I would like to take this back to Iraq”, said one Iraqi official.
Technical and vocational education and training (TVET) is an important factor in sustainable economic development and income generation in particular in Iraq with its economic dependence on oil production and unemployment rapidly growing in the country. UNESCO, with financial support of the EU, is implementing a project entitled “Reforming Technical and Vocational Education and Training in Iraq” to make TVET a key driver for Iraq’s economic development, by increasing its competiveness and relevance in line with international standards. One of Iraq’s main development challenges is youth unemployment, currently at around 18% for ages 15 to 29. A large number of Iraqi’s youth are seeking jobs in the public sector, but with limited capacity for job creation and a restricted number of available career posts, there is an urgent need to develop alternative employment opportunities in the private sector. The project represents a key initiative to make the private sector the nation’s main employer and equip Iraqi youth with skills and qualifications necessary to meet the job market demands.
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