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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Ministries need to pull together on skills gap

Ministries need to pull together on skills gap

The Ministry of Economy and Finance is urging ministries to avoid overlapping each other’s programs when it comes to tackling the Kingdom’s long-lamented human resource skills gap.

A workshop was held yesterday between the Finance Ministry, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Labour, the private sector and development partners aimed at increasing the efficiency of vocational training programs that support Cambodia’s planned shift to an industry-based economy.

“This requires specific policies, clear goals and principles, and clear priorities in who receives more funding [for the budget next year],” said Vongsei Visoth, secretary of state at the Finance Ministry.

“We are trying to collect more national revenues from taxes and customs and we have to spend them efficiently.”

In a bid to harmonise vocational training programs, the government announced last week the formation of an inter-ministerial committee between the Ministry of Labour and the Ministry of Education, the two main institutions tasked with improving human capital and providing vocational education.

Sandra D’Amico, managing director of HR Inc, the largest recruiting company in Cambodia, said Cambodia needed to set a specific standard for accreditation and certification to improve the quality of vocational training and potentially becoming a regional hub.

“There are too many different types of courses amongst TVET [technical, vocational, and educational training] providers – no standardisation of courses and content,” she said.

“It is very important to provide accreditation and qualifications that is meaningful in this context.”

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) last year announced a $30 million loan to revamp Cambodia’s TVET system by introducing a “competency-based” assessment and certification process.

ADB country director Eric Sidgwick said Cambodia needed to keep up with increasingly specialised production patterns in Southeast Asia.

“It is changing quickly and this will have big impact for Cambodia,” he said.

To take advantage of economic changes, both the government and private sector will have to adapt their investment in training to the consumption demands of a rising middle class in China,
and ASEAN, Sedgwick said.

“The region is so big. Cambodia is not that big in the region, so whatever slice of the pie Cambodia can get will have a big impact on Cambodia,” he added.

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