The policy study to recommend the future directions for Cambodia TVET and TVET Financing has hit the 2 month mark, now a third of the way through.
This has been an interesting process, fuelled by a giddiness of possibilities and realities.
Cambodia is a country of about 15 million people. It is a young population where 70% of people are under the age of 30. The decades of civil war have taken its toll on the country. Only 3% of the population are 65 years or older. Poverty rates are high. According to CSES 2004, 35 percent of Cambodian population was estimated to live below the national poverty line, and 20 percent below the lower food poverty line. The incidence of poverty was highest in rural areas (39%) and considerately lower in urban areas (5% in Phnom Penh and 25% in other urban areas). About 80% of Cambodia’s population live in regional and rural areas.
A key issue which contributes to poverty is the lack of education and skills training. Whilst there are a high number of workforce participants, Cambodia has massive skill shortages. People have inadequate employment opportunities and low capabilities. In many instances they are insecure, excluded and vulnerable. They have limited access to natural resources. Poor health, lack of education, poor infrastructure and low productivity lead to deeper poverty. The cycle of poverty, ill health and high health care expenditure cripples many of the poor Cambodian families economically.
The Royal Government of Cambodia’s National Strategic Development Plan incorporates a comprehensive approach to the country development, which includes specific targets for poverty reduction and employment generation. This planning framework is aligned with the nine Cambodia Millennium Development Goals. To help the country achieve these goals, many development partners such as UNDP, UNESCO, ADB, World Bank, JICA, KOICA, GIZ, ILO works to strengthen national capacities and maximize the country’s economic potential.
Why is TVET so vital to the development of a nation?
Workforce skills influence a nation’s performance in economic development, poverty reduction, and jobs creation. Investment in the skills of the workforce not only contributes to higher productivity and enhanced competitiveness but also provides employment and more inclusive growth.
A skills development agenda is vital for Cambodia. Owing to Cambodia’s comparatively young population, the country will see its future economic performance, technological change, and new jobs determined by young people’s ability to acquire skills. Accordingly, the Royal Government of Cambodia has recognized the importance of acquiring skills as part of the Rectangular Strategy for Growth, Employment, Equity and Efficiency.
In 2011, the Supreme National Economic Council (SNEC) invited the World Bank to contribute and collaborate on an analysis of the emerging imbalance of skills facing Cambodia’s economy, underlying causes, and possible responses.
The role of a policy study
The policy study is undertaking an analysis of current global, regional and domestic social, education and training policy. On completion of the study, a set of recommendations for future directions for TVET will be provided to the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training.
One of the interesting reports that is helping to inform the policy study is “Matching Aspirations – Skills for Implementing Cambodia’s Growth Strategy”.
This report provides valuable insight for Cambodia to develop the skills necessary to match the country’s development aspiration. At the same time, it outlines specific actions to create opportunities for access to information in the skills market, to expand household-oriented interventions, to improve school retention, and to strengthen second-chance options – including technical and vocational education and training. This report further proposes how to expand financing for early childhood development effectively, to strengthen institutions, and to promote incentives toward better results among skills providers, including higher education institutions.
For further information on the Policy Study on “Future Directions for Cambodia TVET and TVET Financing” please contact Kath Marnane & Associates