The Statistical, Economic and Social Research and Training Centre for Islamic Countries (SESRIC) organised the First Meeting of the Monitoring and Advisory Committee (MAC) of the Vocational Education and Training Programme for OIC Member Countries (OIC-VET) in Izmir, Republic of Turkey on 13 May 2009 on the sideline of the 25th Meeting of the Follow-up Committee of the COMCEC. Chaired by Mr. Mehmet Fatih Serenli, Director of Training and Technical Cooperation Department at SESRIC, The main purpose of the Meeting was to discuss, among others, the operational aspects of the OIC-VET Programme and the preparation for the pilot application which was scheduled to start in the Fall 2009. The Meeting was attended by the delegations from National Focal Points of the OIC Member States, namely Bahrain, Brunei Darussalam, Gabon, Pakistan, Qatar, Senegal, Syria, Tunisia and Turkey. Also present were representatives of the OIC Institutions, namely COMCEC, ICCI, IDB, IUT and SESRIC.
In his statement during the opening session, Dr. Savas Alpay, Director General of SESRIC, welcomed all distinguished delegates from the Member States, and expressed his deep appreciation and gratitude for their constructive efforts to make this significant Programme materialised for the benefit of their respective states. He stressed upon the fact that this meeting is bringing together, for the first time, the National Focal Points of the OIC-VET Programme. Especially in today’s world, where the economies are changing into knowledge based economies, the opportunity presented by this Meeting for exchange and networking between the National Focal Points is of utmost importance. This is indeed a welcome opportunity to underscore the pre-eminent place of cooperation in vocational training as it addresses a very important priority issue within the OIC.
He mentioned that one of the objectives of this Meeting is to establish closer and stronger partnerships among the National Focal Points of the OIC-VET Programme in their efforts in vocational education and training in the OIC Member States. The OIC-VET Programme emphasises the importance of coordination and cooperation among all Member States to improve the quality of vocational education and training in the public and private sectors with the aim of supporting and enhancing the opportunities for individuals to develop their knowledge and skills and thus to contribute to the development and competitiveness of the economies of their countries. While respecting the responsibility of the Member States for the content and implementation of vocational training, the Programme supports and supplements the activities of the OIC Member States, and aims at improving the competencies and skills of the people according to the needs and priorities of labour markets through intra-OIC partnerships at institutional level.
Mr. Abderrahman Beddi, the representative of Islamic Development Bank, appreciated the SESRIC efforts for OIC-VET Programme and ensured that IDB will spare no efforts to cooperate with SESRIC in the implementation of OIC-VET Programme in the OIC Member States. He also gave an overview of Islamic Solidarity Fund (ISDF) through which IDB has initiated a vocational training and poverty alleviation programme especially for least developed OIC Member States.
The Meeting discussed the Draft Terms of Reference of the OIC-VET Programme and formally established the Monitoring and Advisory Committee (MAC) under the authority and guidance of the COMCEC. The Resolution No.1 adopted by the 24th Session of the COMCEC held in Istanbul on 20-24 October 2008 decided that the membership comprises representatives from the National Focal Points of the OIC Member States and the concerned OIC Institutions in the field of vocational education and training, mainly the Statistical, Economic and Social Research and Training Centre for Islamic Countries (SESRIC), Islamic Development Bank (IDB), Islamic Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI), Islamic University of Technology (IUT) and Islamic Conference Youth Forum for Dialogue and Cooperation (ICYF-DC). The Committee is responsible for adopting the rules and regulations of the OIC-VET Programme, and for monitoring the overall implementation.
The Meeting also heard presentations of country experiences in vocational education and training in an OIC context, as well as brief updates about existing and planned activities of OIC Institutions in the field of VET, potential roles each could play and take role in the OIC-VET Programme. Participants of the Meeting summarised the state of VET capacity in each country and lessons learnt from their experience for matching the existing competences, and identify possible areas of future cooperation.
The OIC-VET Programme will begin with two-year Pilot Application Phase during which the proper implementation of the Programme can be screened and examined by the Monitoring and Advisory Committee (MAC), and will be followed by a full implementation period. The Meeting discussed some relevant monitoring and operational issues prior to and during the pilot application of the Programme in order to duly kick off initial activities in accordance with the aims and objectives of the Programme. The Meeting elaborated on necessary steps to move forward on the involvement of the Member States and the concerned OIC Institutions with the aim of getting the Pilot Application of the Programme started in Fall 2009 by sharing their technical knowledge and expertise with each other. Particular emphasis was given on the ways and means of constructing strong cooperation in specific sectors where countries are in more need to bring their capacities together.