The SEAMEO VOCTECH Regional Centre (SV) conducted its 33rd Governing Board Meeting (GBM) on Wednesday, 26th October 2022 at the Hotel Avani Sukhumvit in Bangkok, Thailand. The meeting was held physically for the first time after conducting it virtually for three years since 2019. In attendance were GB Members from the eleven (11) SEAMEO Countries; Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, The Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor Leste and Viet Nam. The Office for Vocational Education Commission (OVEC), Thailand graciously hosted and co-funded the GB Meeting and International Conference on the next day.

The GB Members and Representatives in attendance of the 33rd GBM Meeting included the Chairman of SV’s Governing Board, Dr. Haji Mohd Zamri Haji Sabli, Director/Chief Executive Officer, IBTE of Ministry of Education, Brunei Darussalam; Mr Tann Sambath, Director, Department Institutions Management, Ministry of Labor Vocational and Training from Cambodia; Mr Saryadi, S.T., M.B.A, Acting Director, Partnership and Synchronization of Business and Industry, Directorate of Partnership and Synchronization of Business and Industry, Ministry of Education, Culture, Research, and Technology from Indonesia; Mr. Saykham Phanthavong, Deputy Director General of Department of Technical and Vocational Education, Ministry of Education and Sports from Lao PDR; Mrs. Hajah Zanariah Haji Ahmad, Director of Technical and Vocational Education Division, Ministry of Education from Malaysia; Dr. Sai Kyaw Naing Oo, Director General, Department of Technical and Vocational Education, Ministry of Science and Technology from Myanmar; MA. Susan P. Dela Rama, Executive Director (Director IV) of Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) from Philippines; Dr. Ang Kiam Wee,  Deputy CEO (Academic & Facilities) of Institute of Technical Education (ITE) from Singapore; Mr. Wittawat Punjamawat, Advisor for Policy and Planning of Office of the Vocational Education Commission (OVEC), Ministry of Education from Thailand; Mrs. Isabel Fernandes De Lima, Director of INDMO, National Institute of Workforce Development from Timor Leste; and Dr. Bui Trung Thanh, Rector of Hung Yen University of Technology and Education from Vietnam. Also present were observers from the SEAMEO Secretariat, some SEAMEO Member Countries, strategic partners and the SV management.

The meeting commenced with welcoming remarks from the Centre Director of SEAMEO VOCTECH, Mr. Alias Haji Abu Bakar, who also highlighted SEAMEO VOCTECH’s achievements within the last fiscal year (July 2021 to June 2022). These included the notable two-year contract with Jerudong Park Medical Centre (JPMC), the TVET Institutions’ Readiness for IR 4.0 Inter-Centre Collaboration research led by SV, the UK-SEA PEER project, the recent launches of the SEA-VET e-learning platform and SV Smart Lab, and upcoming developments such as the Private Sector Page on the Regional Knowledge Platform hosted by SV.

Mr. Alias attributed the achievements to the Centre’s continuous efforts towards regional goals and strengthening its collaborations with relevant stakeholders. He highlighted that all SV’s activities and initiatives are planned and designed to support and align with the SEAMEO Strategic Plan, mainly focusing on Priority Area 4: Promoting TVET by increasing access to quality TVET; the ASEAN Education Workplan Outcome 4: enhancing access to quality initial and continuing TVET in response to demands of the changing labour market; and the ASEAN TVET Council (ATC) to pave the way in charting future directions for the advancement of TVET in the region.

The Chairman of the SEAMEO VOCTECH Governing Board (GB), Dr. Haji Mohd Zamri bin Haji Sabli, lauded the Centre on its resilience in reaching its milestones, despite the challenges faced during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Dr. Haji Zamri commended SV on the impressive total number of 582 participants taking part in SEAMEO VOCTECH’s training programmes and workshops within the fiscal year, saying, “Time and time again, TVET has successfully proven itself to be a worthy component of the national and regional agenda; as the Centre is routinely able to carve out quality, impactful and innovative solutions to modern-day TVET needs.”

The importance of strengthening collaborations and partnerships was also echoed in the speech virtually delivered by the Director of the SEAMEO Secretariat (SEAMES) in Thailand, Dr. Ethel Agnes P. Valenzuela, stating that it is imperative for the overall benefit of the region. Dr. Ethel also expressed that SEAMES looks forward to sharing the SEAMEO’s Strategic Plan 2021 – 2030 and the SEAMEO Integrated Operational Plan 2021 – 2025, which will be used as a guide for the next five years. With this, Dr. Ethel acknowledged SEAMEO VOCTECH as a centre at the forefront of  the quest towards inclusive, equitable, quality TVET education and life-long learning.

The GB Meeting was also graced by  the Guest of Honour and Representative of the GB Member from Thailand, Mr. Wittawat Punjamawat, Advisor for Policy and Planning, OVEC Thailand.  The Guest of Honour highlighted the need for Thai nationals to work towards human resource developments in Thailand’s 20-year National Strategy. Aligned with the vision of strengthening collaborations, Mr. Wittawat stressed on the key cooperation and involvement of all sectors to increase the potential of the workforce, as reflected by the key role of the GB Meeting, i.e. to enable the action of sharing knowledge and experience to improve Technical and Vocational Education.

The opening session of the 33rd GBM Meeting concluded with a group photo session with the GB Members and observers. Subsequently, a total of 15 working papers were presented by SV for the approval, consideration or information of the GB members.