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Chevron Enjoy Science Newsletter Issue 26

Chevron Enjoy Science Newsletter Issue 26

TVET 4.0 for Industry 4.0: Chevron Enjoy Science invites government, industry and educational leaders to elevate 21st century technical and vocational training

Deputy Prime Minister cum Minister of Justice Air Chief Marshal Prajin Juntong (center), Secretary-General of the Office of Vocational Education Commission Dr. Suthep Chittayawong (3rd from left), General Manager for Business Support at Chevron Thailand Exploration and Production Ltd. Mr. Artit Krichphiphat (3rd from right), and President of the Kenan Institute Asia Mr. Piyabutr Cholvijarn (2nd from left) at the landmark conference “Building TVET 4.0 for Thailand’s Future.”

What will Thailand’s technical workforce look like in the 21st century?

Chances are, it won’t resemble that of the last. As robotics and artificial intelligence redefine industries from agriculture to healthcare, modern workers will be valued for their abilities to understand elaborate systems and solve problems. Technological breakthroughs will arise through collaboration and invention rather than rote memorization and repetition.

In preparation for this global shift, “Thailand 4.0” envisions a society in which farmers can implement sensor-based precision irrigation systems and technicians can draft, design, mold, and even 3D print. A multitude of opportunities will open to societies whose workforce can wield the skills and knowledge to innovate towards sustainable and inclusive growth.

However, the 20th century education system was not designed to cultivate the 21st century workers. As the world economy evolves at the breakneck pace of new technologies, Thailand’s education system must produce workers with new sets of traits, skills and knowledge. Creativity, collaborative work and a complex grasp of science and technology are now foundational for technical and vocational students who work side-by-side with the newest advanced machinery.

Recognizing the urgency of technical and vocational education and training (TVET) reform, over 600 leading members of Thailand’s government, industry and educational spheres gathered this July for “Building TVET 4.0 for Thailand’s future,” a first-of-its-kind conference addressing how technical and vocational workforce development can drive sustainable and inclusive economic development of Thailand 4.0.

Business leaders recognized the disconnection between the education system and the evolving needs of industry. “The challenge facing the industrial sector at present is the lack of skills and knowledge necessary for work,” said Artit Krichphiphat, General Manager for Business Support at Chevron Thailand Exploration and Production Ltd. “We must instill ‘2S’ (STEM + Skills) via the education sector wherein teachers relay the knowledge and skills, foster thought processes and analytical skills, and inspire learners to innovate. Technicians make up an important piece of the puzzle for economic development in the Industry 4.0 era.”

Government leaders affirmed the importance of public-private partnerships in supporting active and continuous learning. Deputy Prime Minister cum Minister of Justice of Thailand Air Chief Marshal Prajin Juntong said, “It is important that TVET involves formal and non-formal education with an emphasis on hands-on practice, allowing workers to develop skills that can be put immediately to work.” He added, “It is encouraging that state and private sector agencies have collaboratively implemented the TVET model to continually upgrade workers’ professional skills—and that the model is already showing results.”

The Chevron Enjoy Science project is collaborating with the Office of Vocational Education Commission (OVEC) and other vocational education agencies on a multi-year project to foster analytical thinking and problem-solving skills, improve mechanical skills, and enable workers to sustainably respond to the needs of the industrial sector through innovations. The initiative focuses on four of Thailand’s primary industries: automotive, energy, microelectronics and food processing. To facilitate engagement among technical students, teachers and employers, Chevron Enjoy Science has already opened five regional TVET hubs in provinces across Thailand; Chiang Mai, Chonburi, Songkhla, Khon Kaen and Nakohn Ratchasima with another to come in the Eastern Economic Corridor, Rayong.

Enrollment in vocational education is rising. Dr. Suthep Chittayawong, Secretary-General of the Office of Vocational Education Commision (OVEC), reported that the ratio of those enrolled in vocational education increased to 39.70% versus the 60.30% enrolled in general education. Through fostering increased understanding of the professional opportunities available to TVET graduates, OVEC aims to reach the government’s goal of a 50:50 ratio.

Over six hundred buzzing minds filed out of the TVET 4.0 conference at the end of the day, teachers left with novel pedagogical practices, government secured new approaches to workforce development, and industry gained a platform through which to meet skill demands. Public, private and educational sectors came to the agreement that the largest social and economic investment the nation can make is cultivating the talents of its people. The task at hand of raising 21st century technical workers looms large, but it is clear that nobody is going to have to do it alone.

Newsletter Issue 26 ENG


July 31, 2018