In addition, rural people lack training opportunities in line with the needs of the labour market and suffer from the traditional exclusion of disadvantaged groups.
This was the key message delivered by the Deputy Minister of Education and Sports, Associate Prof. Dr Khamphay Sisavanh, at the 8th Regional Policy Dialogue on Technical Vocational and Education Training, taking place in Vientiane from November 21-22.
Another meeting - the 10th annual Expert Meeting of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, Southeast Asia Regional Policy Network on Education and Skills - is taking place at the same time.
Associate Prof. Dr Khamphay stressed that promoting economic growth and employment in rural areas and providing the workforce with relevant skills remain priorities of political decision-makers across Southeast Asia.
“Despite many gains in the development of Asean countries, the main challenge is that rural populations still have limited access to skills development,” he said.
“Adequate strategies are essential to integrate rural areas with social development needs, with employment and decent work. These are primary needs for entry into market economies, and training policies have to reflect both the development of education and these objectives,” he added.
Since 2014, regional policy dialogues supported by GIZ RECOTVET on behalf of the German government have become an important forum for exchange on pressing topics surrounding technical vocational and education training reform for decision-makers from the Asean region, said German Ambassador to Laos, Mr Jens Peter Luetkenherm.
Mr Luetkenherm said the 8th Regional Policy Dialogue provides an occasion for all participants from the Asean countries to discuss good practices, to improve access to technical vocational and education training and employment services, and enhance the relevance of technical vocational and education training.
“This important meeting will also suggest ways to tailor employment services to the needs of specific groups and identify successful policies and strategies for technical vocational and education training and employment promotion,” he added.
The meeting is part of the 10th Annual Meeting of the OECD’s Employment and Skills Strategies in Southeast Asia initiative. This initiative, led by the OECD LEED Programme, has been networking skills and labour ministries from Asean and OECD member states since 2008.
It is part of the OECD Southeast Asia Regional Programme, as its regional policy network on education and skills. It fosters knowledge exchange in support of national growth and regional integration by encouraging a whole-of-government approach to the formation and implementation of skills policies.
Some 70 participants, including senior education and labour officials from ministries in Asean member states, representatives from the private sector, and regional stakeholders are taking part in discussions.