12 March 2021 
TAGUIG CITY – TESDA Secretary Isidro Lapeña convened the members of the ASEAN Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Council (ATC) for its first meeting on Tuesday, March 10, 2021 via virtual conferencing platform.  

This stemmed after the Philippines, through the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), assumed the inaugural chairmanship of the council last August 4, 2020.

The first meeting focused on the selection of the council’s vice-chair, discussion of the rules of procedure, and the development of a work plan of strategies to enhance industry participation, and address emerging issues brought by the ongoing pandemic, technological transformations, and other developments.

Lapeña noted that the council intends to review the ASEAN TVET agenda, in light of the anticipated challenges and impacts of the fourth industrial revolution to our workforce, especially to the low- and middle-level skilled workers.

“The pandemic accelerated the predicted technological revolution, and this has triggered sudden, unprecedented shifts in our education systems and employment landscape. Learning from this experience, we shall build our capacities and establish effective response mechanisms to withstand these kinds of disruptions in the future,” he said.

The council has identified the six (6) priority areas to consider in the work plan. These include market-responsive workforce, research, TVET image, quality assurance, qualification of TVET professionals, and TVET implementation and financing.

The TESDA chief also highlighted the important areas for collaboration given the council’s composition having representatives of ASEAN from education, labor and economic sectors, including business and industry sectors, among others.

He cited lifelong learning, promotion of digital and 21st century skills, digitalization of our systems, flexible learning and training delivery models, as among the common areas that the council may consider for collaboration.

“Let us take this opportunity to look ahead and think of our priorities and the urgent policy reforms needed in our TVET and skills development systems,” Lapeña added.

During the meeting, Singapore accepted the vice-chairmanship of the ATC. In this era of fourth industrial revolution, the ATC is confident that Singapore will be able to share its experience and expertise in responding to the priority areas of the council.

The ATC expects the work plan to be approved by the ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting (AEMM), ASEAN Education Ministers Meeting (ASED), and ASEAN Labor Ministers Meeting (ALMM) by the third quarter of this year.

The council envisions to achieve an advanced TVET towards competitive human resources; market-responsive workforce skills; greater employment opportunities locally and overseas; higher productivity in the digital economy and a human-centered future of work towards a resilient and innovative ASEAN community. ###