Crucial role of technical and vocational education in creating job opportunities and development

  • By Dr Myat Moe
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A team of Myanmar engineering students participates in the Myanmar Robo League Competition on 1 June, 2019 in Yangon. Photo: Phandeeyar

Vocational education is a form of technical skill that is involved in professional expertise. The index of jobless rate is a norm to calculate economic development of a country. Despite abundant workforces, the outstanding unemployment rate shows a negative sign for the nation. Myanmar, as developing country, has only 4 percent of graduated citizens, and that it needs to be considered to promote the role of vocational education like the formal university education. The World Bank’s 2019 report has pointed out that the role of vocational education has increased in the world in the future work places, and the labour market has changed to requrie more skilled workers. The vocational education has been taken priority to generate skilled labours and professionals. Systems have been adopted to allow the young people who completed vocational trainings for continuing higher technical subjects at relevant colleges and universities in the world.

Key sector in solving job opportunity issue
It becomes popular that many young people are learning vocational subjects online, getting access to both hard skills and soft skills. Even in some developed countries, the graduates have no enough capacity of technical skills for their works. As a result, many become unemployed and failed to serve for their country. Human resources with technical skills have an advantage in the highly-competitive business sector. No investor will have no desire to take a risk to invest their great capitals into a country with poor technology, and that the country may suffer a setback in attracting possible foreign investments. It will be a significant loss if graduates could not find a job although they had to spent a lot of time and energy, while their parents and the country invested their resources for their education. As they could not find any favourable jobs in the country, the young people go abroad to seek oversea employment. However, they hardly found a decent job as they lack necessary skills. If the young people could learn vocational education and technical skills, they would set up their own business as innovative entrepreneurs in the country.

Priority for education reform
Education reform of the government has taken priority on technical and vocational education by adopting a policy of promoting ‘technical and vocational education and training programmes as equally as university education’ The policy is based on the concept that technical and vocational education are very fundamental in sustainable development of social and economic sectors. In coming years, it is expected that more skillful workforces would be required in the sustainable development sectors of agriculture, energy, manufacturing, information and technology, electricity, construction, livestock and fisheries, and hotel and tourism.

Regional demands and management
A more effective management system must guarantee for quality education in technical and vocational education and training programmes. Only then, more people would join education and training programmmes as they have high hope in learning. Moreover, it will also help in establishing family businesses, or seeking employments. Like the regional ASEAN countries and global nations, Myanmar need to generate qualified skillful workforces to fill the gap of economic development for the country. There are many dropouts who failed to complete their formal education in some area of the country. Short-term training programmes should be conducted for the employees with insufficient skills in their jobs.
Increases in the amount of scholarship programmes and stipends could attract to more potential learners. These programmes need to equally cover both city and rural areas. A system should be set up to continue a level of technical and vocational education to higher level. Basic curriculum must guarantee for quality to achieve recognition of skills. The courses must be supported with modern teaching aid to fit the labour market demand.
Regular training programmes and intensive training courses that meet regional demands will surely benefit the local young people. For example, automobile mechanics, mason, carpenter, welding, maintenance of electrical motors and agricultural equipment, and hotel services for the visitors are well-known jobs for the young people in respective regions. For example, demands may grow in the related training programmes for livestock and fishery farms, salt production and motorcycle repairing.
Research and development is important for developing modern vocational subjects. Moreover, it is also required to systematically manage the cooperation of the government and private sector and the assistance of international organizations. Consultant groups should be formed to develop practical vocational programmes, and a good collaboration is required between the stakeholders and the line ministries. The sector of policy adopting is very crucial. Systematic management based on actual findings from the analysis of concrete facts and information would help policy makers in adopting sound decisions. Funding and budgets are considerable challenges to be able to conduct capacity-building courses and vocational training programmes. As these programmes are aimed to solve unemployment problems of the young people, the funds from the State, international development organizations, NGOs and INGOs should be seriously taken into account. In some cases, mobile training programmes will help the interested young people who are not favoured to attend training courses outside their areas as they are struggling for the family income. The role of private sector is important in developing capacity of human resources. It will be more effective and successful if some training programmes are jointly conducted by the private and government sectors in the form of PPP.

Example of some countries
It is found that in developed countries the rate of high school students who learn vocational education is increasing. In the Republic of Korea, 40 percent of high school students are learning professional subjects, and 70 percent of their curriculum focuses on vocational subjects. In Russia, vocational subjects are designed for general education for G 10 and G 11 students to help them in choosing their preferred subjects. In India, G 1 to 8 of primary school children are introduced to job related subjects and they can learn primary vocational subjects to get exposed to future jobs.
In conclusion, the countries that have enjoyed the benefits of technical and vocational educations and training programmes are found to teach these subjects essential for future employments. These progrommes have developed the potential workforces into highly productive resources of the country, while solving unemployment problem. High technical and vocational education and training programmes are some strategic solutions in solving unemployment problem, in fulfilling the requirement of capable workers for less developed business sectors and inefficient jobs. Every subject is valuable if it is properly used. As success can be seen only when there are conditions of systematic learning, getting opportunities for jobs, chances for reapplying the knowledge, and consistency of jobs with the knowledge, it is concluded that technical and vocational education play a key role in socio-economic development of the people.
Translated by Aung Khin

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