The Colombo Plan Staff College for Technician Education (CPSC) renews ties with the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization – Regional Centre for Vocational and Technical Education (VOCTECH) at the SEAMEO-VOCTECH headquarters in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam. SEAMEO-VOCTECH and CPSC signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to expand the benefits to the member countries and renew cooperation in mutual areas which include capacity building and training in the field of TVET, research and development, information dissemination and resources sharing.
Dr. Mohammad Naim Yaakub, CPSC Director General formally signed the MOU on behalf of CPSC while Mr. Alias bin Haji Abu Bakar, Director of SEAMEO-VOCTECH, signed on behalf of the Center. Both parties agree to chart new opportunities for cooperation since both share a common vision to strengthen technical and vocational education and training in the Asia and the Pacific region. The signing was witnessed by Dr. Paryono, Deputy Director Professional & Research Specialist for SEAMEO-VOCTECH and Engr. Md. Jahangir Alam, Specialist, for CPSC. Others who graced the occasion were Mr Haji Ali Husaini Hj Md Diah, Deputy Director for Administration; Mr. Haji Nordin Haji Ahmad, Finance Manager; Mr. Saiful Anuar Rahim, Teacher Training Specialist; and other VOCTECH officials.
The first MOU between the two institutions was signed in 1997 and had been periodically renewed, the latest of which was last 2005. For the next five years, the two parties agreed to identify new areas for cooperation cognizant of the growing needs for skills development and new requirements to promote workforce mobility. In the presence of VOCTECH and CPSC officials and staff and the local media, Dr. Naim shared about the complementing roles that both parties could explore in the interest of the member countries served by VOCTECH and CPSC and in creating opportunities that will augment institutional strengths according to each of SEAMEO-VOCTECH and CPSC's mandate and niche area. He stated that "the MoU is akin to the exchange of vows between two champions of TVET in the international arena."
Five of the 17 member countries of CPSC are also SEAMEO-VOCTECH members (Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand). Dr. Naim also emphasized that while SEAMEO-VOCTECH carries forward the greater mission of SEAMEO, a regional organization for Southeast Asian nations, CPSC advances the principles of south-south cooperation of the greater Colombo Plan in the context of TVET. The landmark signing, he said, serves as a renewal of vows for both institutions with assurance that CPSC will always support VOCTECH in its mission particularly since SEAMEO-VOCTECH will be once again an active part of CPSC’s vast network which includes other key global and regional organizations like UNESCO-UNEVOC, GIZ, IVETA, ADB, among the few. He also stressed that the opportunity of renewing ties with the SEAMEO Center is symbolic of the opening of doors for exploring more cooperation with the Government of Brunei Darussalam, the newest member of the Colombo Plan, and SEAMEO-VOCTECH’s host government.
For his part, the Centre Director of SEAMEO VOCTECH recounted the many opportunities of joint programs between the centre and CPSC. He expressed mutual desire to continue learning from each organization and continue taking guidance from CPSC, which, for many years, have consistently extended its support to SEAMEO-VOCTECH in validating its sub-regional strategies in TVET and in formulating its strategic plans. CPSC, through the previous Directors, took part in formulating the Centre’s corporate plans.
The signing coincided with SEAMEO-VOCTECH's celebration of Hari Raya Eid-ul-Fitri where the CPSC team was cordially invited to join the centre-wide activities.