Commerce VP says more skilled workers needed
DEMAND for skilled workers in Myanmar and the broader ASEAN community is high but the current quality of the local labour pool is low, said Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI) vice president U Maung Maung Lay at an education forum on October 28.
“The Human Development Index, which is determined by the United Nations, is low in Myanmar,” he said. “We need to solve that problem.”
Every year, 1.1 million children in Myanmar are eligible for a grade 11 education but 800,000 of them drop out, said the Asia Development Bank’s principal social sector specialist, Christopher Spohr. Only one-third reach high school, he said, and of those, two-thirds fail to matriculate, he added, stressing the importance of technical education and vocational training in filling the skilled labour gap.
In July, State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi made clear her opinion that vocational education should not be viewed as secondary or second class. She added that if vocational programs are better-funded and developed, they will become more appealing and less stigmatised for those who want to master a trade.
Only about 60,270 students (0.13 percent of the population) attended vocational training schools, according to the 2014 census.
U Kyaw Kyaw Lwin, the director of the Skills Development Division under the Ministry for Labour, Immigration and Population, said the Technical Education and Vocational Training Law (TEVT) and the Employment and Skills Development Law (ESD) should be enacted quickly to address the skilled labour demand.
“Both laws need to be enacted in parallel,” he said.
The TEVT Law is in the draft stage and the ESD Law was adopted in 2013, but the latter’s by-laws have yet to be published.