Regional experts meeting on the future of STEM education and training in TVETs in Southeast Asia

The ILO through its Women in STEM Programme gathered TVET experts and representatives’ of government from Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, and Malaysia to discuss the integration of STEM skills into TVET education and training in Southeast Asia

Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions play a central role in promoting productive participation of women in the labor market as well as equipping them with the necessary competencies and skills to fulfil the skills requirements of the industries of the 21st Century. However, the participation of women in STEM education within TVETs remains still very low and subsequently in a number of STEM-related occupations which are in high demand, particularly those requiring STEM skills. In Southeast Asia, women are less likely than men to enrol in TVETs, with even lower enrolment numbers in STEM fields of education and training. With women at higher risk than men to be displaced by automation, it is urgent to support the promotion on STEM education and training in TVETs, thus these institutions can play a fundamental role in preparing the workforce of the future.

With more employers across Southeast Asia demanding STEM-related skills, there is a need to review then strengthen the TVET approach to design and deliver STEM education and training as well as its ability to integrate relevant STEM competencies into national training regulations and trainings to supply the skills of the future.

In response to these challenges, the ILO through its Women in STEM Workforce Readiness and Development Programme gathered a group of STEM experts and practitioners in the Southeast Asia region with the objective to develop a regional strategy framework along with national actions plans to prioritize the development of STEM subjects in TVET education and training in Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand.

The key discussion points during the Meeting included:
  1. STEM skills that are vital for employability in the workplace of the future;
  2. Good practices designing and delivering STEM education and training in TVETs;
  3. Demand of STEM-related competencies to bridge policy gaps;
  4. Relevant STEM competencies to be integrated in national TVETs;
  5. Challenges and opportunities for TVET institutions when supplying quality STEM-related skills;
  6. Relevant pedagogies for integrating STEM in TVETs.
The insights and technical recommendations provided by the participants in this Meeting will guide the development of an ILO country specific framework and tools to be integrated in TVET institutions and national training programmes in collaboration with the ILO constituents. The frameworks and tools developed shall serve as reference model and foundation for integrating STEM competencies into TVET programmes in those countries the ILO is implementing its Women in STEM Programme, namely Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines.

The Meeting was conducted on 11-12th of December 2019 in Bangkok, Thailand. A selected group of regional TVET experts including scholars and practitioners along with representatives’ of government from a number of countries including Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, and Malaysia participated in this technical workshop.