YANGON — The Singapore-Myanmar Vocational Training Institute (SMVTI) was launched in Yangon by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Thursday (June 9), in a move to provide skilled labour for key industries in Myanmar.
Situated in downtown Yangon, the institute has 10 courses in the areas of hospitality and tourism, electrical skills and electronics, facilities management and engineering services. Each course will last six months.
The institute is the result of efforts by Myanmar leaders, who in 2012 asked Singapore for help in skills training. In April 2014, both governments signed a three-year memorandum of understanding to formalise the respective contributions for establishing the SMVTI.
Singapore contributed in a couple of ways.
With the Yangon site needing an extensive renovation to become a functional training institute, Singapore funded the renovation, which was carried out in March last year and completed in January this year.
In terms of curriculum content and the set-up and management of the institute, ITE (Institute of Technical Education) Education Services acted as the project consultant.
The SMVTI will produce about 800 graduates a year, over two intakes. So far, 156 students from the School of Hospitality and Tourism and 225 from the School of Engineering have graduated from the institute.
One of them, Ms Khaing Nyein Su, 22, now works as a receptionist in a five-star hotel in Yangon. “I want to improve my English, as I can use it in the hotel industry,” she said. “Myanmar is a developing country, and many hotels are built here, so I have a chance to do well.”
In fact, Mr Win Maw Tun, director-general of Myanmar’s Ministry of Education, said the institute will increase intake for this area, depending on infrastructure and teacher capacity. “Hotels and tourism are booming. We need qualified human resources,” he said.
Mr Ong Ye Kung, Acting Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills), told Singaporean reporters in Yangon: “I think Myanmar is going through a very special period of its history.” He noted that the country faces a lot of transitional issues, such as the democratising process and the liberalising of its economy to make it more market-oriented.
“To be able to contribute … through SMVTI, with both our ITE staff working alongside Myanmar staff to run this institute, training Myanmar workers, helping them find jobs, in tourism, hospitality as well as engineering, I think … it’s a very meaningful project, especially in this period during Myanmar’s transition.”