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New Delhi symposium explores skills development for employability in Asia | Results for Development Institute

14 Jan 2013 - Shubha Jayaram Shubha Jayaram "Today was the first day of a two-day Symposium, co-hosted by R4D and the National University of Educational Planning and Administration (NUEPA), our Innovative Secondary Education for Skills Enhancement (ISESE) research partner in South Asia. This project has produced 12 regional and thematic background studies and two synthesis reports on skills for employability, and the gathering in Delhi seeks to identify the skills required for work in the 21st century economies of South and Southeast Asia, and explore innovative models of delivering these skills to youth of secondary school age."

"In her opening remarks, Ms. Radha Chauhan, the Joint Secretary of the Department of School Education and Literacy, Ministry of Human Resource Development, encouraged us to identify a road map that can effectively turn research into policy. She also highlighted the importance of reducing the disconnect between what is taught and what is needed in the workplace. With this challenge, we started the symposium; the day included sessions on Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), National Qualification Frameworks, and Public Private Partnerships (PPPs). Six key themes emerged from our discussions:

  1. Importance of industry partnerships in education and training, and the need to close the gap between the user and provider of education.
  2. Overcoming TVET stigma is crucial: one poignant example was that in many ways, training as a doctor is a type of vocational education, where you learn by doing. Yet, there is no stigma or negative connotation attached to this profession.
  3. There is an urgent need to integrate three distinct groups in training and TVET: (i) informal sector, (ii) disabled population, (iii) those in rural areas. Not enough attention is paid to all three demographics, and we must reduce this marginalization.
  4. A move towards the integration of vocational education in mainstream schools is slowly taking place; separate vocational and education frameworks are coming together to form a unified skills framework. This will not only lessen the stigma and ensure that vocational education is not terminal in nature, but this increased flexibility can also support children with special needs.
  5. PPPs are playing a greater role in supporting skills development. There are three factors that are often crucial to their success: (i) a clear mandate, (ii) a long-term agreement between all parties, and (iii) clear leadership.
  6. It is crucial that all teachers have industry experience to ensure they are up-to-date on employer needs. Teachers should either come from the industry or it should be a requirement that they get that experience.

Of course, this is a broad snapshot of what our conversation covered. It is not often that a mix of educators, policymakers, funders, researchers, and program implementers from across Asia meet in a single room, and it is hard to truly capture the energy of the discussion and debate.  The sessions on the second day will dig deeper into delivery mechanisms, and I look forward to thinking more about how to develop an action plan to turn theory into practice.  "

Source: http://www.resultsfordevelopment.org/blog/2013-01-09/new-delhi-symposium-explores-skills-development-employability-asia

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