Industry 4.0!

Countries and officials of the region of Southeast Asia (SEA) are understandably,  as expected, including the Philippines, are concerned about and bracing for the impact of the 4th Industrial Revolution, IR4.0, or Industry 4.0.

In this case, it is the technical-vocational and education training (TVET) that is the focus of their attention.

So, on September 4, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) headed by Director General and Secretary Guiling “Gene” A. Mamondiong gathered concerned TVET officials and other executives from some SEA countries to put their heads together on what to do to leverage technologies of Industry 4.0 and how workers can adapt and remain relevant in a changing workplace that will feature robots.

The occasion was the 4th High Officials Meeting (HOM) on SEA-TVET, with the theme, “Moving Together Towards TVET 4.0”

SEA TVET delegates

Mamondiong said the meeting was attuned with the previous HOMs’ themes.

He recalled that the themes were mainly focused on the regional collaboration to advance and strengthen TVET and how to make its growing prominence in SEA sustainable.

“It pinpoints how we should position TVET for the region as a whole — which should be in response to the Fourth Industrial Revolution or Industry 4.0, a global technological phenomenon that affects our labor, employment and education landscapes,” said Mamondiong.

He asked every delegate to increase their understanding of Industry 4.0 and its implications, adding sooner or later the SEA region will experience the bulk of its impact.

Make TVET stay vibrant

TESDA DG Gene Mamonding

TESDA Director General/Secretary Gene Mamondiong at 4th HOM SEA-TVET emphasizes need to be pro-active in addressing challenges of Industry 4.0. (EKU)

He identified what should be strengthened to cope with IR4.0’s impact.

“The creation of new jobs, the loss of old ones due to automation, the demand for higher level skilled workforce — all these must be considered in our national (as well as regional strategies to ensure that TVET remains vibrant, relevant and capable of producing globally- competitive skilled workers.

“To this end, the 4th High Officials Meeting has the same theme ‘Moving Together Towards TVET 4.0,” a clear and direct response to the effects of Industry 4.0,” Mamondiong, a Moro executive, emphasized at the event.

He said the 4th HOM sought to discuss national and regional TVET initiatives that may improve member states’ and the region’s responsiveness and preparedness towards Industry 4.0.

The TESDA official further said the 4th HOM is the region’s quest for answers to the issue looming over SEA, chiefly IR4.0.

Around 180 delegates from 11 SEA countries

A two-day event, around 180 delegates participated in the 4th HOM comprised of officials of Ministries of Education, Ministries of Labor and Training, Ministries of Science and Technology, Ministries of Higher Education, other ministers from 11 SEA countries, as well as other development agencies, and partners outside the region.

TESDA co-hosted the event with the Department of Education (DepEd), and organized it with the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO) and its SEAMEO Voc-Tech Regional Center, SEAMEO-Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA), and SEAMEO Regional Center for Educational Innovation and Technology (Innotech).

4th HOM

SEA members are Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor Leste, and Vietnam.

The  delegates hammered on the meeting’s purpose, among them, the improvement of quality of TVET, promotion of partnerships among TVET institutions, Strengthening the industry’s involvement and participation, improvement of the capacity of TVET personnel, and promotion of the mobility of skilled workers, teachers and students.

Partner countries such as the United Kingdom, Germany, and Japan, and others sent their representatives.

At also the meeting, Mamondiong revealed plans for TESDA to create 50,000 new tech-voc programs, which he wants to make 50 percent of them available before President Rodrigo R. Duterte steps down from office after his six years term.

There are only 18,000 registered tech-voc programs in the country so far, he said.

TESDA and young musicians

Young musicians at 4th High Officials Meeting on SEA-TVET, Philippine International Convention City, Pasay City. Some 180 delegates from 11 countries joined. (EKU)

So, what’s IR4.0, or Industry 4.0, that’s been occupying minds of policy-makers, employers, technology experts, etc.?

From Forbes.com, here’s what it is:

Industry 4.0 comes after Industrial Revolution 1.0 (steam engines and machines), Industrial Revolution 2.0 (electricity, assembly line and mass production), and Industrial Revolution 3.0 (arrival of computers and automation –robots in assembly lines).

“And now we enter Industry 4.0, in which computers and automation will come together n an entirely new way, with robotics connected remotely to computer systems equipped machine learning algorithms that can learn and control the robotics with very little input from human operators,” said Bernard Marr on Forbes.com.

Industry 4.0, he said, brings along what is called the “smart factory,” a workplace where “cyber-physical systems monitor the physical processes of the factory and make decentralized decisions.”

SEAMEO official on TVET’s importance to region

Back at the 4th HOM event, Gatot Hari Priowirjanto, director, SEAMEO Secretariat, cited the new to introduce new technology to improve access in SEA through TVET.

“Vocational education is very important in our region. If we can find a new technology as alternative to make our production more efficient and effective, then we can reduce cost the cost and make our products more competitive even beyond our region,” the Indonesian said in an interview with Scitech and Digital News.

Priowirjanto hastened to add that as new technologies arrive, TVET organizations have to upgrade their workers, students, and education.

“We have to take care of workers who would be replaced (as a consequence of new technology). We have to upgrade them with the new technology across SEA, upgrade their skills, their knowledge, upgrade the people about the new trend,” he added.

But in adapting new technology, Priowirjanto said that “we have to take care of the cost-benefit. Does it make our process more efficient and effective?” (EKU)