Lao-Thai Dialogue to Enhance Bilateral Collaboration on Skills Development System

IOM, Migration and Development

Vientiane – On 4 December, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) held a virtual bilateral dialogue on the Skills Development System between Lao People’s Democratic Republic and the Kingdom of Thailand. The meeting was part of IOM’s regional programme – Poverty Reduction through Safe Migration, Skills Development and Enhanced Job Placement in Cambodia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Myanmar and Thailand (PROMISE).

The event sought to engage key government partners to share knowledge and experience on the skills development and training system in Thailand, including the Thailand Professional Qualification Institute (TPQI)-developed competency standards and certification system. Representatives from the Thai side included the Thai Department of Skills Development (DSD), Thai Ministry of Labour (MOL) and TPQI. The Skills Development and Employment Department (SDED), Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare (MoLSW) attended on behalf of the Lao Government.

Opening the ceremony, Mr. Khornsy Mahavong, Deputy Director General of SDED, MoLSW, acknowledged the dialogue as an excellent opportunity for both parties to exchange useful knowledge on their respective skills recognition and development system. Ms. Jullada Meejul, Deputy Director General of TPQI, added: “I hope today’s meeting marks the beginning of a strong collaboration between Thailand and Lao People’s Democratic Republic in strengthening the policy framework of the skills certification system, which will drive market-driven skills development and promote access to decent work.”

Ms. Shareen Tuladhar, Chief of Mission of IOM Lao People’s Democratic Republic, reiterated IOM’s commitment to promoting safe and regular migration, highlighting the role that cross-regional skills recognition system can play in enhancing the capacity of migrant workers. “Initiatives, such as today’s discussion, will help us to identify areas of potential collaboration for the development of a more comprehensive skills development system in the region,” she noted.

During the meeting, 30 participants actively discussed ways to improve the transferability of skills certified by TPQI to the competency standards in Cambodia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic and Myanmar (CLM) for the formulation of a comprehensive skills development mechanism across the region. Key recommendations were provided to better assist skills providers in CLM in delivering migrant-centric, gender-sensitive and market-responsive trainings to aspirant migrant workers.

Drawing on experiences in establishing the Skills Development Promotion Act and the Skills Development Fund in Thailand, Thai skills development authorities provided recommendations for improving the skills development mechanism in Lao People’s Democratic Republic. Best labour practices were examined to explore the feasibility of incorporating relevant chapters into the ongoing drafting of Lao skills development laws. Existing laws governing the Lao skills development system include the Labour Law (2013, No. 43/VTE), and the Decree on Technical and Vocational Education and Training and Skills Development (2010, No. 036/PM).

Building upon the newly developed partnership between TPQI and IOM in piloting skills certification for domestic workers in Thailand, further dialogues will be held between Thai authorities and skills providers in the countries of origin to strengthen skills recognition and certification for migrant workers in the broader region.

PROMISE, now in its fourth year of implementation, is a cross-regional initiative that aims to promote poverty reduction through ethical recruitment and skills development, safe migration schemes, and enhanced return and reintegration mechanisms. The programme is supported by Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation (SDC).

For more information please contact Suhyun PARK at IOM Vientiane. Tel. + 856 (0)55 136 294. Email: [email protected]

  • Thirty representatives participated in the dialogue from Lao People’s Democratic Republic. ©IOM 2020/Suhyun Park

  • Khornsy Mahavong, Deputy Director General of SDED, MoLSW giving an opening remark. ©IOM 2020/Suhyun Park

  • TPQI briefing the participants on the objectives of its skills certification system. ©IOM 2020/Suhyun Park

  • Participants raising questions on the skills development system of Lao People's Democratic Republic and the Kingdom of Thailand. ©IOM 2020/Suhyun Park