Link technical training with industry, ADB tells Sri Lanka

ECONOMYNEXT – The Asian Development Bank has recommended Sri Lanka encourage private sector involvement in curriculum development and teaching in Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutes to build a more productive labour pool.

“The present low quality of labour and productivity in the country may affect the realization of projected economic growth targets,” the bank has warned in a new report on modernising technical education in south Asian economies.

“Skills development in Sri Lanka is crucial on account of the country’s experiencing demographic transition, low unemployment, high proportion of migrant workers, and low productivity, as well as increasing global competition,” it said.

Sri Lanka’s demographic transition implies that the demographic bonus period – when most of the population is of working age and can contribute to economic growth – will end in 2017.

The island’s labour force is shrinking and it faces possible labour shortages in future given that unemployment is already low and a big part of its labour force is working abroad.

The ADB has recommended strengthening TVET–industry linkages to improve employability of technical and vocational education and training graduates.

The government should encourage private sector involvement in curriculum development and teaching and set up sector councils for industry interaction, the bank said.

The report also recommends the government encourage TVET institutions to establish partnerships to conduct training programs catering directly to certain industries.

It also suggests backing private provision of TVET services through policy and financial support.
  (Colombo/November 27 2015)

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