Thai-Lao Development Cooperation Project on the Development of Vientiane Technical College
Building a strong and skilled labour market by establishing a quality skill development institution for the long-term economic and industrial development of the Lao People's Democratic Republic
Similar to Thailand’s experiences during the economic shift from agricultural-based development to an industrial-based economy in the 1960s, the Lao People's Democratic Republic chose to carry out structural changes in its labour market due to rapid economic growth deriving from the expansion of industrial and resource-based economic sector. In addition, in line with the Lao Government’s policy on foreign investment promotion, it was pivotal that the Lao People's Democratic Republic had to develop its workforce to become a semi- to high-skilled workforce. Combined with the lack of quality education and school dropouts, the Lao People's Democratic Republic had to set up an effective Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) that would serve as an additional track that would provide a competent workforce for the growing economic and industrial development.
Towards a Solution
To address the above challenge, it is essential that the foundation for the TVET system is strengthened at the micro-level as a model for future replication in other institutions nationwide. In this regard, the Thailand International Cooperation Agency (TICA), in collaboration with the Office of the Vocational Education Commission, the Thai Ministry of Education and the Lao Ministry of Education and Sports, implemented a five year-development cooperation project, ‘The Development of the Technical College of Vientiane Province’, to serve as a model for a practice-oriented and comprehensive TVET institution that can produce skilled labour and a competent workforce. This will contribute to the Lao People's Democratic Republic’s socio-economic development and productivity in required economic sectors and beyond.
Accordingly, in 1997, TICA, in collaboration with the Office of the Vocational Education Commission, the Thai Ministry of Education and the Lao Ministry of Education and Sports, initiated the first project on the development of TVET institutions at the Technical School during the first phase of the project. This first phase focused on the improvement of facilities, curriculum development, equipment provision and capacity building for the respective executives from the Thai Ministry of Education and the Lao Ministry of Education and Sports on TVET policy planning, and for teachers and trainers on specific courses from the school.
Resulting from the success of the first phase, at least four syllabuses at the Technical School were developed in collaboration between Thai educational experts and the Lao Ministry of Education and Sports; their curricula met the requirements of the Lao Ministry of Education and Sports, and the number of students attending the school was significantly increased from 1,500 to 3,001 in 2019. Therefore, the status of the school was upgraded to the Technical College of Vientiane Province in October 2010, becoming the first Technical College in the Lao People's Democratic Republic that provides extensive vocational and technical training programmes for students, not only locally but also nationwide.
The second phase of the project was designed to further develop in three main areas: () the improvement and construction of facilities within the College, including classrooms and workshops; (ii) the provision for necessary and adequate training equipment for practice-oriented vocational education; and (iii) capacity-building programmes for teachers and trainers at the college. Following satisfactory results from the first phase, Thailand and the Lao People's Democratic Republic closely designed activities focusing on specific courses that responded to the ongoing labour market demands, namely machinery, electrical engineering, construction, carpentry, tailoring, food and beverages, business administration, computer for business, general subjects and basic vocational training. In addition, the courses were improved to be better aligned with the national labour standards as well as ASEAN professional skill standards, and to serve the ongoing demands for labour in specific sectors in special economic zones in the Lao People's Democratic Republic. During this second phase, special attention was focused on curriculum design, the testing and assessment system, as well as methodology and pedagogy. In the second year of implementing the second phase, the focus was on upgrading and strengthening equipment and facilities in order to prepare for the growing number of students attending the College. Since 1997 to date, there have been over 3,000 students attending, and over 10,000 graduates. Currently, the courses provided at the college cover extensive subjects including automotive technology, metal machinery, electro-electronics, welding, plumbing, heavy equipment and -machinery, leading to a diploma and higher degrees. It also offers short-term training courses.
The project paves the way for the expansion of quality TVET institutions in the Lao People's Democratic Republic. In addition to the Technical College of Vientiane Province, polytechnic colleges in , Luang Prabang and Dongkhamxang were subsequently selected as three additional TVET institutions to be developed under this project. As a result of the expansion of the project sites in other parts of the Lao People's Democratic Republic, there has been a significant impact in creating decent work and yielding sustainable and inclusive economic growth. This will help the Lao People's Democratic Republic achieve SDG 4 on quality education, and subsequently, SDG 8 on decent work and economic growth.
TICA realizes that the recognition of the importance of the implementation of the development project lies at the heart of its sustainability; therefore, from the start, inclusive and participatory cooperation has been incorporated as an integral part of the project. From the project design phase to the implementation, central government agencies of the Lao People's Democratic Republic and local authorities were actively involved and contributed as key players in designing, shaping and altering, when necessary, the project throughout the process. Additionally, the Project Steering Committee was set up with equal representation from both the Thai and Lao sides to provide a regular forum for close and open discussions on project design and its implementation. The Committee has ensured that the project would be of great benefit to the Lao People's Democratic Republic and will be most suitable and beneficial to the people and communities. all development cooperation projects implemented by the TICA, the project has been part of efforts to ensure that the SDGs are achieved through a strong, practical and sustainable partnership as stipulated in SDG 17 (Partnerships for the goals).
|Name: Ms. Sayan Kongkoey, Title: Director, Organization: Thailand International Cooperation Agency (TICA), Ministry of Foreign Affairs|
|Thailand International Cooperation Agency|
|Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Thailand|
|Thailand International Cooperation Agency (TICA), Lao Ministry of Education and Sports|
|04 - Quality Education|
|08 - Decent Work and Economic Growth, 17 - Partnerships for the Goals|
|Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Thailand||17 - Partnerships for the Goals||Ongoing||View Details|
|Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Thailand||08 - Decent Work and Economic Growth||Completed||View Details|
|Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Thailand||08 - Decent Work and Economic Growth 17 - Partnerships for the Goals||Ongoing||View Details|
|Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Thailand||01 - No Poverty 02 - Zero Hunger 03 - Good Health and Well-being 04 - Quality Education 05 - Gender Equality 08 - Decent Work and Economic Growth 09 - Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure 10 - Reduced Inequalities 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production 16 - Peace and Justice Strong Institutions||Ongoing||View Details|
|Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Thailand||17 - Partnerships for the Goals||Completed||View Details|