President Tsai Ing-wen met with members of the board of directors from WorldSkills International (WSI) on the morning of March 14. The president explained that the government is making technical and vocational education more dynamic, and encouraging more young students to acquire technical skills. She also expressed hope that Taiwan can work with WSI to share our experiences in promoting technical and vocational education and skills development with friends around the world.
In remarks, President Tsai stated that she was delighted to meet with WSI members at the Presidential Office, especially as this is the first time WSI has held a board meeting in Taiwan since the organization was founded almost 70 years ago. She welcomed the visitors on behalf of Taiwan.
The president pointed out that Taiwan is a senior member of WSI, and has held a WorldSkills Competition, which shows how much we value development and training for vocational skills, helping our outstanding technical personnel become a key force in Taiwan's economic development.
In her own office, President Tsai mentioned, she has a complete set of furniture made by woodworking students from the Kung-Tung Technical Senior High School in Taitung, eastern Taiwan. Last year during summer vacation as those students prepared for a skills competition, she went to visit them, and came away impressed by their dedication to training.
Those young people are not alone, the president stated, and all over Taiwan, many stories have been written about hard-working people who used their technical skills to become successful business owners. So she is making a special push to make technical and vocational education more dynamic.
Over the past three years, President Tsai noted, the government has increased funding for technical and vocational education. We have also established a National Award for Distinguished Contributions to Industry-Academia Cooperation to reward specialist instructors. At the same time, we have expanded the scope of skills competitions for teens, young people and adults. That encourages more young students to acquire technical skills, and challenge themselves to succeed in those competitions.
The president believes that technical skills aren't just a way to make money. They are also a key factor in resolving social issues and promoting social innovation, and can help Taiwan actively achieve the UN's Sustainable Development Goals.
Looking toward the future, President Tsai further stated, Taiwan hopes to be more active in international competitions, both as participants and organizers. We also want to increase exchanges and cooperation with the WSI. This visit by WSI President Simon Bartley and members of the board of directors has brought them here to witness an important milestone in our collaboration—the signing of a memorandum of cooperation between Taiwan and WSI to establish the world's second WorldSkills Capacity Building Centre right here.
Through that centre, the president said, Taiwan will be able to share our experiences in promoting technical and vocational education and skills development with friends around the world. Members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the countries of South Asia, and countries in Africa with high growth potential, will all be focal points in our efforts to make friends by building technical capabilities.
President Tsai hopes that bringing technical training to more countries will also give Taiwan's outstanding skills competitors more opportunities to venture out into the world. That, in turn, helps develop specialized instructors, teaching materials, equipment, and maintenance capabilities in the technical and vocational industries.
In closing, the president specially thanked WSI for continuing to hold WorldSkills Competitions worldwide, giving contestants in different occupations a chance to shine on the global stage. She also expressed hope that Taiwan can work together with WSI to use international cooperation for the greater good.