A virtual opening ceremony was held on 10 July 2023 to mark the official start of Hybrid Teacher Upgrading Program “Empowering Teachers for IR4.0 Using Virtual Technology”, jointly hosted by TVET Regional Centre, SEAMEO VOCTECH and Labtech International. 21 participants comprising professionals from the academic sector including professors, lecturers and IT developers were present during the ceremony and will embark on a two-week training program, beginning with virtual training from 10-13 July 2023 followed by on-site training in Batam, Indonesia on 17-25 July 2023.

Yang Mulia Dr. Chin Wei Keh, Deputy Permanent Secretary (Higher Education), Ministry of Education, Brunei attended the ceremony as the Guest of Honour. Also in attendance were Centre Director of SEAMEO VOCTECH, Mr. Alias bin Hj Abu Bakar; President and Founder of Labtech International Ltd, Dr. Steven McKee; its Business Development Executive, Mr Brad Ker; together with other management and officers of SEAMEO VOCTECH.

In his official remarks, Yang Mulia Dr. Chin congratulated SEAMEO VOCTECH and Labtech International Ltd on the blended teacher upgrading programme and expressed his belief the training will be able to equip teachers with competencies in developing and using virtual technology in teaching and learning.

“TVET personnel, especially teachers, lecturers and instructors need continuous professional development to equip them with up-to-date industry knowledge, relevant pedagogical skills, and an entrepreneurial mindset. With programmes such as this, we can enhance the quality of TVET delivery and ensure that the TVET system remains at the forefront of innovation and industry trends,” Dr. Chin noted.

As a leading organisation in technical and vocational education and training, SEAMEO VOCTECH plays a pivotal role in equipping technical instructors with the skills necessary to train students for the ever-evolving job market. The Centre has embraced IR4.0 and integrated it into its training programmes using virtual technology, with the current programme being an excellent example of its commitment in adopting virtual technology to support training.

“The simulations integrated in the Virtual technology platform not only enhance educators with practical skills but also instill an environmental consciousness and a mindset focused on sustainability; it also provides TVET instructors with the means to address challenges related to limited physical resources, outdated equipment, and geographical constraints,” Centre Director Mr. Alias highlighted in his welcoming speech.

During the opening ceremony, Dr. Steven Mc. Kee expounded on the benefits of virtual training and the learning outcomes participants can expect from the training, including the opportunity to develop possible action points and next steps to improve digital transformation.

This Hybrid Teacher Training Programme marks the fourth training programme SEAMEO has jointly hosted with Labtech International, namely; in Automotive, Air Conditioning – HVAC and Electricity, and more are currently under development to further support TVET training in this region.