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3 August 2015: Concurrent session

The Economy and the Informal Sector: Opportunities and Challenges in TVET

Date: 3 August 2015

Time: 14:30 -16:30




  • To discuss the role of informal training and skills development for the socio-economic advancement of developing nations, especially contributing to national development goals;
  • To discuss examples where the private sector and civil society are effectively providing TVET and skills development for income and employment generation, especially to disadvantaged groups; and
  • To provide recommendations for governments on how to strengthen collaboration between the private sector and civil society in the area of skills development for disadvantaged groups.


Key questions:

  • What role does the informal sector play in socio-economic development?
  • How are the issues of accessibility and inclusiveness being addressed?
  • Can quality and relevance be ensured in informal sector training?



  • Mr. A.B.M. Khorshed Alam,  National Skills Development Secretariat, Bangladesh


  • Ms. Reshma Rajkumar Asrani, Janvikas, India
  • Mr. Saw Lay Wah, ADRA, Myanmar
  • Mr. Mohan Thilakasiri, SIYB Association, Sri Lanka
  • Dr. Muhammad Javaid Iqbal Gill, Labour and Human Resource Department, Government of Pakistan
  • Mr. Joydeep Sinha Roy, Manager, BRAC
  • Dato’ Hj. Ahmad Tajuddin, Ministry of Education, Malaysia



The training which occurs in the informal sector plays an important role in the socio-economic development of a country, but is often not taken into consideration by national training systems. Many developing economies have a high level of poverty, with a workforce characterized by low levels of literacy and skills relevant for work. As such, the majority of workers are employed in the informal sector and trained on the job. Developing economies are also epitomized by high rates of underemployment and by structural impediments, such as inadequate infrastructure and energy supplies, and a lack of equitable access to rights and services.  Children and youth are often compelled to choose between an education and becoming bread-winners. The realities of their lives usually drive them to opt for the latter.  In addition, poverty is often a driver for early marriage, as well as child labour in hazardous and undignified conditions.

 As a result, many countries in the Asia-Pacific region are increasingly striving to provide a second chance to those who drop out of school or who are not able to get access to quality education or training.  Furthermore, some countries in the region have recognized the fact that there is also a need to upgrade and diversify the skills of those who are already engaged in the informal economy and who will most likely not be coming back to school. Thus, partnerships have been forged with the private sector and civil society to offer Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) services, and ensure relevance and standardization of training.  Introducing such changes in traditional systems requires new policies and legislation, as well as the capacity to ensure delivery.