Human Resources Development Readiness in ASEAN
We live in an ever-changing world, with rapid and continuous development of technological, economic and societal innovations. Today’s societies face challenges of a huge scope affecting climate, health, technology, economy, and others. Many things are in a state of flux: The global climate is changing at a pace never witnessed before. The long-term impact of the Covid-19 pandemic is entirely uncertain. Developments of digital technologies have been transforming business processes, political governance, and many practices in social and individual life. They raise the question of what it means to be human. Things become even more complex when moving from present trends to future predictions.
For many, the uncertainty of the future is perceived as a threat that people are passively subjected to. However, this study follows the assumption that the future is not pre-determined but can be shaped by people. As a prerequisite, people need to be empowered to actively shape their future instead of just coming to terms with the accelerated pace of change. Education and human resources development (HRD) are the areas that have to prepare people for a future we don’t yet know. They aim at an answer to the key question: What are the essential skills people need to adapt to continuous changing environments and to contribute to shaping a highly uncertain future? HRD can be a useful concept to frame this challenge and to formulate a response.
The HRD readiness study is part of the ambition of ASEAN Member States (AMS) to frame HRD as a key priority of future policy-making in the region. It provides the conceptual foundation, empirical explorations and comparative findings on HRD in AMS. It offers a snapshot of the state of HRD readiness in the ten AMS. It describes existing practices and introduces options for future policies, as guided by a conceptual framework of investigation. In particular, it explores approaches taken in AMS that are currently applied with regard to HRD in reaction to future challenges in changing world of work. It reveals considerable gaps between the appraisal of importance and desirability on one hand, and the extent of realisation and achievement of different areas of HRD interventions on the other hand. As a result, the study encourages the member states to speed up their approaches to make people resilient to face the impending landscape of the future of work and skills.
This regional study is complemented by ten country reports, each offering a picture on the current state of national HRD policies, practices, challenges and available resources to promote HRD initiatives in the region. A considerable number of good practices could be highlighted, but also critical factors for further improvement in HRD areas of intervention have been identified.
The situation in countries differs in many respects, but from a bird’s eye view some overarching findings with regard to the six areas of interventions can be emphasised:
- HRD is a core concept in most AMS. It is applied in official documents such as long- and medium-term strategies, legislative provisions, policy papers, or the like.
- Within their HRD strategies and policies, AMS offer provisions of inclusive education addressing the specific needs of vulnerable groups as an important component. Country reports also reveal considerable obstacles to implementing inclusive education approaches on a large scale.
- Some AMS apply a coherent and consistent framework for HRD, comprising a clear vision and strategy backed up by legislation and accountable institutions, and resources devoted to put programmatic intentions into practice.
- Generally, “future skills” are, to some degree, already part of curricula, assessments and teaching and learning materials. However, implementation is still in progress, and some important skills have only been incorporated marginally. The same applies to the use of digital technologies as part of teaching and learning arrangements.
- Professionalisation of teaching personnel comprises competency development of individual teachers and trainers as well as the creation of conducive frame-conditions to recruit and motivate high-performing candidates for the profession.
- Public-private-partnerships between educational institutions and the business sector have accelerated but are still at a moderate level. There is a broad range of potential forms of collaboration and a growing number of good practices. All this makes this area of intervention a promising field for development.