The ASEAN Senior Officials on Education (SOM-ED) endorsed the USAID-managed Connecting the Mekong through Education and Training (COMET) program after USAID gave a presentation on the project during their regular meeting on April 24 in Hanoi. As the first LMI signature project to be endorsed by ASEAN, this support will further LMI-ASEAN cooperation on shared goals in connectivity and education in the Lower Mekong sub-region. For the duration of the project, COMET will regularly update ASEAN education officials on the project’s goal to strengthen the competitiveness of the region’s workforce by providing students and job seekers with relevant skills — and opportunities to practice those skills — in a real workplace setting.

The endorsement came just days after a USAID-sponsored COMET study concluded that just 16.4 percent of businesses participating in the survey thought schools in the Lower Mekong were doing a good job equipping students with relevant work skills. The study, conducted in Burma, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam, found businesses in the region desired job seekers with experience in internships or work-place learning programs to ensure professional readiness. COMET will use the survey findings to enhance teacher trainings for regional technical colleges, universities, and other work-based learning programs. Currently, businesses in the region need workers with skills in information and communication technology (ICT), communication, teamwork, and leadership.

Source: USAID

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