The Colombo Plan Staff College for Technician Education (CPSC) and the Asia Pacific Accreditation and Certification Commission (APACC) in collaboration with Korea University of  Technology and Education (KUT) convened an Experts' Meeting on "Competence Building in APACC Accreditation" on 25-29 June 2007 held at Korea University of Technology and Education, Cheonan, Republic of Korea.

The objective of the Experts' Meeting was to develop an understanding of accreditation framework defined by APACC. The present status, organization and policies, criteria for evaluation, processes and procedures, code of conduct and the generic roles and responsibilities of APACC accreditors were also discussed.

The meeting converged minds and hearts of experts willing to share their experiences and expertise, and wanting to review and approve the APACC documents for measuring and ensuring quality in technical and vocational education and training (TVET) appropriate for Asia Pacific environment.

Eighteen (18) experts, representing 13 APACC member governments: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Fiji, Korea, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines and Sri Lanka attended the program.

The Experts' Meeting consisted of a mixture of keynote and special messages, special lectures, and plenary discussion with the gracious presence of many dignitaries which include the Ambassador of Sri Lanka to the Philippines and Chairman of the CPSC Governing Board, His Excellency Mr. W. M. Senevirathna; APACC President and incumbent CPSC Director General and CEO, Dr. Man- Gon Park and incoming CPSC Director General, Dr. Shyamal Majumdar.

A wealth of information to help the experts as would-be members of the Team of Accreditors and equip them with knowledge and skills to prepare technical and vocational education and training (TVET) institutions in their respective countries for APACC external on-site visits were provided during the meeting. Experiences and input-sharing during the meeting formed part of bringing further improvements in building a sound accreditation and certification system for TVET institutions in Asia and the Pacific Region.

The meeting was specifically designed for CPSC member countries' signatory of Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with APACC who are the APACC National Coordinators for Accreditation, and heads of National Accreditation Bodies as their representatives.

The Experts' Meeting was coordinated by Dr. Suresh Kumar Dhameja, CPSC Faculty Member and APACC Coordinator, and Prof. Myong Hee Kim, CPSC Faculty Member.

APACC Documents
The program also featured the review and approval of the publication of APACC documents namely: the APACC Accreditation Manual, APACC Accreditation Instrument, APACC Primer, and Handbook for Accreditors.

The APACC Accreditation Manual is used to guide the National Coordinators for Accreditation (NCA), TVET institutions in CPSC member countries, accreditors and consultants of APACC on the accreditation criteria, procedures and the system of evaluation. The Accreditation Instrument is designed to be used by the APACC accreditor/s for validation during the on-site visit. The APACC Primer is specially produced to give a brief information about APACC focusing on its functions, benefits and organizational structure and staffing. Lastly, the Handbook for Accreditors gives a detailed description of the guides and procedures intended to help the Accreditors in undertaking an actual on-site visit.

The meeting culminated in the signing by Experts of the 2007 Cheonan Affirmation of Commitment on 29 June 2007 which encapsulates the discussions and recommendations made during the meeting.  The following  conclusions were made:

1. The APACC framework and structure is appropriate as the embodiment of the most regionally-oriented and feasible accreditation system that will unite equivalence structures, harmonize standards and amalgamate quality systems among TVET institutions in Asia and the Pacific region. Amendment to the APACC framework and structure, as deemed necessary, maybe made at suitable times to facilitate better operationalization with a view to provide enhanced services to the member countries;

2. The APACC documents namely: APACC Manual, APACC Instrument and Handbook for Accreditors have been prepared and can serve as the basis for APACC accreditation and certification subject to their periodic review and revision keeping in mind the changing requirements of TVET and labor market system; and

3. The delegates, as would-be APACC accreditors in coordination with National Coordinators for Accreditation (NCAs), will make concerted efforts to allow for smooth coordination and implementation of accreditation processes and to significantly provide ground directions for APACC, at the national level, to ensure that all the plans and processes of APACC are followed accordingly.