Regional Cooperation Programme to Improve the Quality and Labour Market Orientation of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (RECOTVET)


The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is one of the largest economic communities in the world experiencing stable growth since 2000. The lack of adequately skilled workers is a crucial bottleneck for sustained growth, particularly in view of advances in manufacturing technology and automation. Technical and vocational education and training (TVET) is recognised as an important element in strategies to close prevailing skills gaps and reduce youth unemployment. Correspondingly, TVET ranks high on the agenda of ASEAN member states (AMS). In practice, however, the school-based TVET systems of AMS rarely meet expectations. School enrolment rates and the quality of TVET are low. TVET graduates fail to meet the demands of business and industry with respect to practical competencies.


RECOTVET strengthens the human resources, institutional capacities and know-how for harmonised and labour market-oriented TVET systems in the ASEAN region.


RECOTVET cooperates with relevant institutions from AMS, includingTVET line ministries, business and industry organisations; regional organisations, in particular, the ASEAN Secretariat and Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organisation (SEAMEO) as well as international organisations and bilateral cooperation programmes in the field of TVET and skills development. RECOTVET focuses on four key areas:

  • Strengthening regional institutions
RECOTVET facilitates the development of cross-sectoral, strategic TVET cooperation and related regional formats as agreed upon by AMS. With its biannual Regional Policy Dialogue on TVET series, RECOTVET has established a well-known, cross-sectoral forum for TVET policy-makers from education and labour ministries and representatives from business and industry. The forum has pioneered regional knowledge sharing and peer learning in TVET among AMS. The programme supports the SEAMEO Regional Centre for Vocational and Technical Education and Training (SEAMEO VOCTECH) in the development of the Regional Knowledge Platform on TVET to provide a virtual space for knowledge sharing on TVET for and from AMS. 

  • Business and industry cooperation in TVET
The participation of business and industry in TVET delivery and policy-making remains a key challenge to improving the quality and labour market orientation of TVET. To advance this agenda, RECOTVET
  1. In cooperation with the ASEAN Secretariat, establishes a regional working group with leading representatives of business and industry from AMS to articulate their position at the regional level and bring it into a public-private dialogue. 
  2. Introduces a regional business award for Inspiring Practices in Skills Development to showcase successful business and industry examples of skills development from the ASEAN region.
  3. Promotes and supports the standardisation and improvement of in-company training in line with the Standard for In-Company Trainers in ASEAN Countries.
  • Quality assurance
RECOTVET partners with AMS and ASEAN regional organisations to advance the quality agenda in TVET. The focus is on practical efforts to promote quality improvement and make quality assurance effective at the institutional level. A regional expert group engages in peer learning and provides guidance on the development of quality assurance knowledge products and trainings that build on good practices and innovations from the AMS and beyond.

  • TVET personnel
As a contribution to TVET quality, RECOTVET supports AMS in their efforts to upgrade TVET teacher training. This implies support for referencing national TVET teacher standards to the Regional TVET Teacher Standard and facilitating peer learning throughout the process. In cooperation with TVET training institutes from AMS, RECOTVET develops in-service training modules in line with the current regional training demand.


RECOTVET and its predecessor programme have made various impacts:

Increased visibility and acknowledgement of TVET as a regional concern: TVET is featured prominently in the ASEAN Work Plan on Education 2016 – 2020 and has become widely recognised as an important topic for ASEAN cooperation.

Regular exchange of TVET decision-makers: Six regional policy dialogues have advanced regional exchange and learning, shaped TVET policy agendas and build trust in regional TVET cooperation.

Common regional standards for TVET teachers and in-company trainers: A regional working group has jointly developed the Regional TVET Teacher Standard. It was endorsed by the SEAMEO Council of Education Ministers in July 2017. In a similar process, six AMS have developed the Standard for In-Company Trainers in ASEAN Countries that provides a benchmark for the competencies of trainers engaged in TVET delivery at the workplace. It was endorsed by the Senior Officials Meeting on Education in 2017 and has been converted into national law in different ASEAN countries.

Promotion of regional cooperation on quality assurance in TVET: A regional working group has developed a joint understanding on quality and defined a catalogue of quality criteria and indicators in three focus areas: industry involvement, TVET personnel, and audit and assessment.

Strengthening of competencies of TVET personnel: 70 practitioners responsible for TVET teacher training and TVET  management from AMS have received comprehensive training that enables them to act as multipliers in their respective TVET system. 

Development of a web-based Regional Knowledge Platform on TVET: RECOTVET supports SEAMEO VOCTECH in the development of a TVET website for Southeast Asia. The platform will bring together all current knowledge and information on TVET and skills development from the region on a single platform.

Client/Duration: BMZ/ July 2017 - June 2020
Countries:  10 ASEAN member states with a focus on Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Viet Nam


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