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OECD emphasises urgent upskilling initiatives to enhance Southeast Asian resilience

In a recently published report, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) emphasised the critical importance of enhancing Southeast Asian resilience through strategic upskilling of the regional workforce. The report, titled “Building Resiliency: Empowering Southeast Asia’s Workforce,” identifies the pressing need for concerted efforts to equip individuals with the necessary skills to adapt and thrive in an evolving economic landscape.

The study highlights OECD’s comprehensive study on the challenges facing Southeast Asian economies and the urgency to address these issues to foster sustainable growth and development. The region, while characterized by its vibrant economic activity, is not immune to the disruptions caused by rapid technological advancements, global uncertainties, and climate-related events. Upskilling the workforce is the key driver to boosting their resilience and ensuring long-term prosperity.

OECD Secretary-General, Ms. Angel Gurría, stressed the need for strong collaboration between governments, private sectors, and educational institutions in implementing effective upskilling programs. She stated that “building resiliency in Southeast Asia requires a collective effort to ensure that all segments of society have access to quality education and training opportunities that are relevant to the evolving job market.”

To achieve these goals, the OECD report outlined several key recommendations:

  1. Government-Private Sector Partnerships: Encourage public-private partnerships to design and implement upskilling programs tailored to industry demands, ensuring that educational initiatives remain closely aligned with the rapidly changing needs of the job market.
  2. Accessible and Inclusive Education: Promote inclusive education policies that address barriers to access, such as affordability, gender disparities, and geographical limitations. This will enable a broader demographic to participate in upskilling programs and contribute to the region’s economic growth.
  3. Digital Literacy and Technical Skills: Integrate digital literacy and technical skills training into the education system to equip individuals with the capabilities necessary to thrive in the digital age.
  4. Recognition of Prior Learning: Recognize and value prior learning and informal skills, as this will enable individuals to leverage their existing expertise and experiences in seeking new opportunities.
  5. Continuous Learning Culture: Foster a culture of lifelong learning among individuals and organizations alike, encouraging ongoing skill development to adapt to emerging challenges and opportunities.

The OECD report serves as a call for policymakers, businesses, and educators across Southeast Asia to prioritize upskilling as a transformative strategy for building resilience in the region. By embracing a future-oriented mindset and investing in human capital, Southeast Asia can overcome the challenges ahead and forge a path toward sustained economic growth and social prosperity.

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Chief of Staff Asia