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SEARCA seeks adoption of competency standards for Asean agri workers

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine government-hosted Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) is calling for the adoption of   competency standards for agricultural workers in the ASEAN region.

SEaRCA director Gil Saguiguit Jr. brought up the proposal at the 3rd High Officials meeting on Southeast Asia-Technical and Vocational Education and Training (SEA-TVET) convened by the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO) and the Brunei-based SEAMEO Regional Center for Vocational and Technical Education (VOCTECH).

Held in Kuala Lumpur last month, the meeting was a gathering of secretary generals on TVET of ministries of education, labor and training, science and technology, and higher education as well as policymakers and directors of TVET institutions from Southeast Asian countries, along with officials of international development agencies.

They set out to chart regional policy directions and strategies to advance and harmonize TVET education to meet the labor demands of the ASEAN region.

Saguiguit reiterated that agriculture remains the backbone of most Southeast Asian economies, with about 450 million people depending on it for livelihood, food, and trade.

This, he said, brings into sharp focus the need to develop competencies of agricultural workers in light of their important role in raising farm productivity and contribution to food and nutrition security as well as alleviating poverty in the region.

SEARCA’s proposed project aims to assess the development of competency standards for agricultural workers in ASEAN taking into account the Regional model for competency standards in agriculture and aquaculture developed by the International Labor Organization.

The project will assess the current situation of ASEAN member states in developing such competency standards to identify gaps, challenges, and recommendations for action of the ASEAN Secretariat, SEAMEO, and member countries.

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