|Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy
Strengthening human resources by developing TVET is a key priority of the government's Twelfth Five-Year Plan, 2011 2015. In 2010, with approval of the National Long-Term Strategy on Education, 2010 2020, the central government identified the expansion of TVET as the main way to build a more skilled work force. A major challenge in this effort is to reform the TVET system so that it aligns more closely with the demands of the country's economic and social development goals.
Hunan is a less-developed province in the south-central part of the PRC. It has a population of 72 million. The province's economy is being transformed by the central government's policy of geographic rebalancing, which seeks to expand economic growth from the PRC's coastal regions toward its less-developed inland provinces. This effort has led to Hunan's emergence as an important industrial base that requires a large labor force with a wide range of skills. In 2011, demand for such skilled workers exceeded supply in Hunan, with manufacturing generating the greatest need. The province needs to make its labor force more competitive and to foster skills-intensive growth that is driven by innovation. What is lacking in Hunan, however, is the technical knowledge needed within the provincial government, its agencies, and the TVET system to fully implement the PRC's National Long-Term Strategy on Education.
To develop a modern TVET system, the provincial government, the HED, and the TVET institutions and stakeholders need to be able to assess, assure, and certify the quality of the TVET being delivered in the province and to use these assessments to make improvements and align the training and education provided with industry needs. The institutional standards needed for quality assurance are currently lacking, and guidelines for monitoring key indicators have to be developed at the provincial level to measure the performance and promote the accountability of TVET institutions. Hunan pioneered skills assessment in the PRC in 2010 but needs to enhance its assessment methods and disseminate knowledge about skills testing across the province.
Coastal provinces such as Guangdong and Jiangsu and the large southwestern PRC municipality of Chongqing have done more to reform TVET since the Eleventh Five-Year Plan was announced in 2006 than the less-developed provinces in the PRC's western and central regions, where progress has been moderate. Ningbo City in Jiangsu Province has developed and implemented the country's first regulatory framework for industry school partnerships by offering tax incentives to enterprises that participate in TVET, establishing a board of governors to improve interagency coordination in TVET, setting up a training fund, and expanding on-the-job training. Chongqing, a centrally administered municipality has spearheaded reforms to strengthen quality improvement in TVET. Potential exists to replicate these good practices in Hunan and elsewhere within the framework of a PRC government initiative to twin eastern and western provinces to facilitate the sharing of experience, lessons, and best practices in TVET development.
The TA aims to strengthen the TVET management capacity in Hunan, address its current weaknesses, and work toward achieving the goals of the provincial Twelfth Five-Year Plan. After the TA was included in ADB's 2013 nonlending program, the HED prepared a first proposal and held consultative meetings with ADB to design the TA concept.
The TA will (i) develop recommendations for strengthening quality improvement mechanisms at the TVET institution level; (ii) make recommendations for improving skills testing and certification, including the development of assessment standards in three priority fields of study; (iii) conduct policy research and present recommendations for monitoring key performance indicators in TVET; and (iv) develop technical guidelines for establishing an east west partnership in TVET between Hunan and an eastern province, including assessing and defining policy, operational, institutional, and technical aspects of such a partnership. Documents will be reviewed, detailed consultations with relevant stakeholders conducted, field visits undertaken, and case studies examined to produce the TA outputs.
The TA will complement ADB's TVET demonstration project in Hunan by ensuring that there will be strong, concurrent, linked management capacity-building activities at a senior management level in the HED, TVET institutions, and relevant industry advisory groups as the demonstration undertaking goes forward. The TA will gather and consolidate information about national developments in TVET in the PRC, and the TA findings will be disseminated at the provincial and national levels through workshops and policy briefs. This capacity building through information dissemination for senior management officials will be essential for strengthening ownership of the initiatives under the proposed demonstration project to improve TVET industry linkages and match TVET programs with market demand.