USAID has announced a regional project to train hundreds of instructors and students to be more competitive for Asean integration at the end of next year.
Many young Cambodians say they fear the impending competition from an EU-like economic integration that would free up goods and services between the 10 Asean nations.
“USAID is pleased to help bridge the gap between the private sector and post-secondary schools to increase the numbers of youth with the right skills to meet the demands of local employers and help move their countries forward,” Michael Yates, director of USAID’s Regional Development Mission for Asia, said in a statement.
The Connecting the Mekong Through Education and Training project will be implemented by the Education Development Center, Inc. It focuses on training university students and graduates in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, accounting and tourism, “so that they can develop the skills needed to secure employment in the region,” USAID said in a statement.
The project is part of a set of programs under US President Barack Obama’s Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative, announced in Myanmar earlier this month.
It is also an attempt to “deepen engagement with young leaders on key regional and global challenges, and strengthen people-to-people ties between the United States and Southeast Asia,” USAID said. “By working closely with the private sector, universities and vocational centers in the Lower Mekong, the project identifies specific industries and skills in high demand and develops customized curricula to address that demand. Instructors then use modern methods of complementing online learning with classes conducted in person.”
The project aims to close the development gap within the region to take advantage of the impending integration, the agency said. “With USAID support, these young workers will also share their knowledge and training with their colleagues across the region.”