Local Employment and Economic Development (LEED Programme)

Workshop: Does Asia need a unique model for skills development? (Manila, Philippines)


10 December 2012, Manila (Philippines)


Jointly organised by the Asian Development Bank and the OECD LEED Programme



It is a considerable challenge to ensure that training and education systems provide skills needed in the labor market. This is particularly the case since there is a discernible bias towards university education in developing countries, despite the fact that many of the good jobs of the future are likely to be found in trades and technical areas. There is poor signaling between the private sector and training providers. While skills-jobs mismatches are a global problem, the problem in Asia appears to be particularly acute as surveys reveal that employers in Asia have greater problems in filling positions. Labor markets in Asia are characterized by a large prevalence of informal markets and vulnerable, more unpredictable employment opportunities. At the same time, developed nations in Asia are at the technological frontier, leading innovation for mass markets and new product development. While Asia has the lion’s share of the world’s illiterates, it is also home to high levels of skills and entrepreneurial talent. It is this diversity that makes policy making both complex and interesting.

This one-day workshop will serve to explore ideas and initiatives that may be most suited to the Asian region. It will present case studies from middle to high income countries in Asia and review completed and ongoing research on skills in Asia. A recent analysis conducted by the OECD LEED ESSSA initiative in 15 countries in Asia and the Pacific will be shared; and case studies from Korea will be presented. Ongoing research by the ADB on skills for greening economies, and the Results for Development Institute on innovative models for skills in secondary education will be discussed. Reform initiatives currently underway in skills and secondary education will be shared. These provide the platform to explore how skills development enable low income countries to move towards middle income levels and how middle income countries move to high income levels.

The event is linked to the ADB International Forum on Skills for Inclusive and Sustinable Growth in Developing Asia-Pacific, 11-12 December 2013 (Manila, Philippines).


Issues to be discussed

  • What skills development pathways are being adopted by middle income and high income Asian economies?
  • Are pathways for smaller economies different and (if so) why?
  • What are the lessons to be learnt and what best practices can be identified across the region? What are the implementation bottlenecks?

The workshop will discuss these questions, share experiences among Asian countries and in so doing seek to clarify and advance the agenda of skills development in Asia.

Download the agenda



For further information please contact Dr. Cristina Martinez.