Dr. Naim meeting various government officials and college administrators in Thailand. (Clockwise, starting from top left) SEAMEO Secretariat, Office of the Private Education Commission (OPEC), Meeting High Officials from OVEC, Siam Technological College and Samut Prakarn Technical College

CPSC, with its aim to extend the benefits of the Asia-Pacific Accreditation and Certification Commission (APACC) to its member countries, embarked on an official mission to the Kingdom of Thailand from July 2-4, 2014. Representing the college is the Director General, Dr. Mohammad Naim Yaakub and the CPSC Short-Term Faculty Specialist, Dr. Paiboon Saiyawongs. The official mission aims to promote APACC to its potential clients, as well as establish the necessary linkages to the important TVET agencies and institutions in the country.

As a commission established by CPSC in 2004, APACC emphasizes the need for the adoption of harmonized quality and training standards among the TVET institutions. APACC visualizes an easier mobility of workforce that will transcend national borders and adhering to a regionally-recognized standard of quality and training. Currently, seventeen member countries, including Thailand, have signed the agreement recognizing APACC as the lead agency for accreditation and certification services for TVET institutions in the region. 38 institutions from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Mongolia, Philippines and Malaysia have already undergone assessment and certification from APACC, with more institutions eyeing the said distinction in the coming years.

The first institution visited by the delegation consisted of Dr. Naim, Dr. Paiboon and Office of the Vocational Education Commision (OVEC) officials is the Samut Prakarn Technical College located south of the capital, Bangkok. Samut Prakarn Technical College is one of the five outstanding technical colleges under the Office of the Vocational Education Commission (OVEC) of Thailand, and tentatively selected to undergo APACC accreditation. The institution’s officials, led by the former CPSC alumni Dr. Anand Ngams-ard, initiated a tour of their campus which exhibited their world-class facilities, workshops and exhibits. The initial response on APACC accreditation has been very positive, with all the deputy directors expressing their interest to undergo APACC accreditation.

After the successful visit to Samut Prakarn Technical College, CPSC paid an official engagement to the headquarters of the SEAMEO Secretariat located in Wattana, Bangkok, Thailand. Mr. I. Handoko, the Deputy Director for Program and Development, warmly received Dr. Naim and Dr. Paiboon in behalf of their Director, Dr Witaya Jeradechakul, who is currently on an official assignment. After a short presentation about APACC, SEAMEO recognized its benefits and positively showed its intention to hold a joint activity in the future.

The next day, the delegation paid an official visit to the headquarters of the Association of Private Technological and Vocational Education Colleges of Thailand (PTVEC), an association composed of more than 400 TVET colleges all over the country. Dr. Jompong Mongkolvanich, the head of PTVEC, led the delegation to the Siam Technical College, in which he is also the president.

The Dr. Mongkolvanich expressed his intention to join CPSC activities and have their members undergo APACC Accreditation. This matter will be raised on the agenda for the association meeting on July 17, 2014. Furthermore, the president also discussed that the association expressed their intention to apply for the CPSC’s Honorary Membership. With regards to this, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) will be signed. Opportunities for possible partnership with CPSC will also be explored.

The delegation also went to the headquarters of the Office of the Vocational Education Commision (OVEC), which is the lead agency is responsible for tailoring vocational education and training to the needs of labor markets and national economic growth in accordance with the manpower production policy and the National Economic and Social Development Plan. Dr. Chaipreuk Sirirak warmly welcomed the CPSC delegation and confirmed that at least five colleges are expressing their intention to participate in APACC for the very first time. He is also extending his invitation to CPSC in their management meeting on August 2014 where they are expected to present the relevant information about APACC to their board members.

The CPSC delegation successfully commenced their visit to the Office of the Private Education Commission (OPEC), Ministry of Education, Thailand. This agency is the authority in-charge of inspecting and supervising private schools in Thailand. They positively expressed their intention to cooperate with the activities of APACC and hope to explore other opportunities for linkage in the future.

Overall, the official mission to Thailand has been a huge success for it secured the commitment of the government agencies handling TVET to have their institutions be assessed by APACC as soon as possible. The positive reception and a warm, welcoming atmosphere that greeted the delegation is also a noteworthy experience that marks the mutually beneficial relationship between CPSC and the Kingdom of Thailand and their shared aspiration to continue exploring ways to enhance the workforce for their increased role in the expansion of the global economy.