Thursday, 01 December 2016

The Chair of the Thematic Area Working Group (TAWG) on Skills and Qualification Recognition, Sri Lanka, convened the Second Meeting for the TAWG on 1 December 2016. This was the very first meeting for the CP Member States (CPMS) to exclusively meet online by using the video conference tool, Bluejeans.

The primary objective of the meeting was to discuss the Terms of Reference for the TAWG in order to move forward the agreed goals and key tasks for the TAWG through regular meetings. The meeting also provided an avenue for the TAWG members to exchange good practices and lessons learned through the updates on country and regional initiatives.

Sri Lanka presented an update on their participation in the UAE pilot project on skills development, certification, upgrading and recognition. This initiative between a country of destination (COD) and countries of origin (COO) from the Colombo Process (CP) region is regarded as a promising model that will facilitate the mutual recognition of upgraded skills of migrant workers, and the CP has agreed to promote the wider replication of good practices and lessons learned from the initiative in other CPMS.

Another TAWG member, Afghanistan, gave an update on the progress at the policy front, highlighting the development of a National Labour Policy, a Labour Migration Policy and a National Employment Strategy. The representative also shared the key outputs that the Government of Afghanistan aims to pursue through future projects, including formalization of institutional support for labour migration and public awareness on regular migration.

From the development partners, ILO shared the key findings from their research study on “mapping of the skills assessment procedures, certification standards and equivalencies between Sri Lanka, UAE and Kuwait in identified occupations in the construction industry”. One of the suggestions highlighted from the research findings was the importance of involving experienced returnee migrants in the pool of instructors as well as upgrading the training equipment available at training facilities in view of aligning with the requirements and technologies of CODs.

Mr. K.O.D.D. Fernando, General Manager of Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment, in his concluding remarks, congratulated the TAWG members for the successful convening of the meeting first time online, and stressed the importance for the TAWG members to continue engaging in sharing knowledge and ideas through this platform. 

The TAWG members have agreed to meet biannually.