YANGON: As part of his three-day work trip to Myanmar, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong officially launched a vocational training institute in Yangon on Thursday (Jun 9).
Located on the grounds of the former Nat Mauk Polytechnic High School, the Singapore-Myanmar Vocational Training Institute (SMVTI) is a joint project between Singapore and Myanmar, to help Myanmar train and upgrade its workforce.
The countries signed a three-year memorandum of understanding to formalise their respective responsibilities for the institute in April 2014. Among other things, Singapore has contributed to the renovations of the institute and enlisted the Singapore Institute of Technical Education (ITE) as its principal consultant overseeing areas such as the pedagogy and curriculum.
Operational since late last year, the institute offers 10 courses lasting six months each in the areas of hospitality and tourism, electronic and electrical skills, facilities management and engineering services. It has produced about 400 graduates so far and aims to produce about 800 graduates each year.
Students are trained in skills such as front office operations, facilities management and electronics, with the goal of equipping them with practical and industry-relevant skills for employment after graduation.
Twenty top graduates from SMVTI will also have opportunities to intern in companies in Singapore, starting from the new batch of students enrolled last month.
PM Lee touring the SMVTI after its official opening on Thursday. (Photo: May Wong)
Acting Education Minister for Higher Education and Skills Ong Ye Kung, who was also at the launch, said such assistance was especially useful for a country like Myanmar undergoing a transition to democracy.
"Myanmar is going through a very special period of its history, a lot of transitional issues: A democratising process as well as liberalisation of its economy to be more market-oriented," he said.
Mr Ong added that it was a "very meaningful project" involving ITE staff working alongside local staff to run the institute and develop young people who "have a very strong work ethic" and are "very talented and full of potential".