World ORT and the Open Society Foundations (OSF) conducted joint missions to Myanmar in 2012/2013 to evaluate the need for skills development reforms by introducing higher quality vocational skills into the labor force. It was concluded that there is a tremendous need for ORT involvement and technical assistance to specific areas in the country's Technical Education & Vocational Training (TVET) sector. Myanmar would greatly benefit from ORT introducing new operational techniques to its skills development program utilizing a market-driven, decentralized and employer-based approach to program development and implementation.
An ORT expert conducted an assessment of the TVET sector and developed a detailed work plan. Meetings were held with a wide range of various Ministries and their staff, including: Deputies and Directors General, Special Advisers, Deputy Ministers and representatives of the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST); the Ministry of Labor, Employment and Social Security (MOLES), which is linked to the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement (MSWRW); the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism (MOHT); skills training centers and polytechnic institutional administrators, two Monastic School Division Leaders, TVET-oriented NGO administrators, private sector training institution owners; and the Myanmar Tourism Federation (MTF) and employers representing two growth industries (tourism/hospitality and building construction).
Interviewees expressed a clear and determined desire to move forward to address the current and emerging broad spectrum of social and economic issues. The ORT mission found evidence that Myanmar has an enormous human capacity development need, including a significantly disadvantaged youth population.
The Open Society Foundations provided a startup grant in the amount of $500,000 to World ORT to promote the goal of developing sustainable livelihoods for youth through Skills Development training in Myanmar. ORT will partner with MOLES in order to help Burmese youth develop marketable skills and attitudes necessary to find jobs, and/or create their own employment, as well as participate in their communities.
The ORT National Skills Development program will focus on the following: (i) improved technical education and vocational training through the implementation of a non-formal education (NFE) delivery method; (ii) institutional development through a reorientation of the country's present supply-driven and centrally-planned TVET structure into an employer-based/market-driven, decentralized structure; and (iii) a specific focus on capacity building for the country's disadvantaged youth in employment and self-employment/entrepreneurial skills.
The World ORT Skills Development program will be implemented in three phases over a five-year period: (i) Phase One will renovate buildings and develop a centralized organization, the National Skills Development Center (NSDC), to be located at the Yankin Skills Training Center in Yangon. The NSDC will act as the country-wide administrative and development headquarters, as well as the Center of Excellence for the introduction of the advanced skills development innovations. It will service as the source of modern and up-to-date skills development methods, and will also develop vocational training standards that could support the roll out of similar centers across the country in later phases of the program.
A key component of the ORT model will be the job placement center, whose activities will include job and skills matching, managing internships and apprenticeships, as well as innovative life skills development training.
(ii) Additional funding is needed to develop, a "hub and spoke" strategy which would select a small number of partner campuses to act as satellites of the NSDC. The smaller campus operations would be assured of an effective introduction and integration into these new skills development activities and instructional delivery methods.
(iii) The third and final expansion phase would allow for those satellite campuses that have developed efficient, effective and relevant programs to become recognized by the state as "National Skills Training Centers" in their own right, thus spreading high-quality skills development throughout the country by reaching a substantially larger pool of beneficiaries.
The economic and social reforms currently underway in the country would be greatly enriched and supported by the proposed ORT advancements and instructional delivery methods that emphasize the integration of skills development, work experience, post-graduation mentoring, and a balanced approach to employment acquisition and self-employment opportunities. Myanmar is at a critical crossroads of its development, and desperately needs trainees and workers who display the right mix of social development, literacy and critical thinking skills.
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