Vocational school modelled after Singapore's ITE handed over to Myanmar government

SINGAPORE – A vocational school school in Yangon, with a curriculum which Singapore helped design, was officially handed over to the Myanmar government on Wednesday (Feb 19).

Modelled after Singapore’s Institute of Technical Education, the SMVTI Vocational Training Institute is part of Singapore’s efforts to support Myanmar’s development and progress.

The Myanmar government has been gradually taking over the funding and management of the institute since 2018, while Singapore continued to provide training and management advice to help staff operate it independently.

Education Minister Ong Ye Kung, who attended the handover ceremony at the institute’s Yangon campus, said: “The objective was to impart practical and employable skills for Myanmar youths, to help them secure jobs, and contribute to Myanmar’s growth, especially in this period when Myanmar is undergoing reform and transition.”

Since training commenced in 2015, the institute has produced more than 3,000 graduates in the engineering, technology, hospitality and tourism sectors.

Many found good jobs, including in major hotels and well-known restaurants, said Mr Ong. Some even rose to managerial positions a few years after entering the workforce.

Mr Ong cited a few factors for the success of the institute’s graduates, including the diversity of its student body and the training of students to gain practical skills.

He noted that it was among the first few vocational schools in Myanmar that has helped graduates find jobs, through internships, job matching and regular career fairs.

While Singapore would no longer be involved in day-today operations, it would still continue to support the institute. This included a handover package, which includes the training for Myanmar senior officials in Singapore.

The establishment of the institute was first proposed by former President Tony Tan during his state visit to Myanmar in 2013. It was officially opened by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong three years later.

Mr Ong said technical and vocational education and training was a key strategy in Singapore’s economic and talent development, and in ensuring inclusive growth.

“The project was particularly meaningful to Singapore, because from experience, we understood the importance of education to nation building and long-term economic development,” he said.

“By equipping our people with the necessary knowledge and skills through education and training, we were able to support the rapid industrialisation of our economy with a skilled workforce,” he added.

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