Com­merce VP says more skilled work­ers needed

The Myanmar Times - - News - EI SHWE PHYU news­room@mm­times.com

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.

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