Professor Joshua Professor Joshua Hawley, director of the Ohio Education Research Center at the John Glenn College of Public Affairs was awarded a Fulbright ASEAN Research Program Award. January through May of 2021, Hawley will travel to collaborate with regional experts on labor market planning and technical-vocational education policy in Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam to identify how modern data science can be used to improve the labor market information used by vocational-technical (TVET) education systems. The areas of focus will be finding the legal and governance frameworks underlying labor market planning, determining the kinds of decisions host country governments and ASEAN nations make using the existing labor market data, how the TVET sub-sector interact with the labor market planning system in each nation as well as what gaps are there between data collected and decisions that need to be made to ensure TVET is producing the right labor.
“We are laying the groundwork for a new model of how data can be used in educational planning,” said Hawley. “The idea is to look at actually how these countries are getting the decisions made with the data they have and to look at what the holes are in the situation. I will be looking not only at government data but also at the private industry data.” Hawley went on to say that the COVID-19 pandemic also makes this research more important, as the labor shortages last year have turned into surpluses. “Massive unemployment and particularly educated workers without jobs tend to motivate government,” added Hawley.
Hawley will begin the project in Bangkok, Thailand with Dr. Yongyuth Chalamwong, research director of Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI) and the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education (SEAMO), an intergovernmental organization of the eleven Southeast Asian countries aimed at promoting regional cooperation in the fields of education, science and culture. Dr. Chayan Vaddhanaphuti, director of the Regional Center for Social Science and Development (RCSD) and the Center for Ethnic Studies and Development (CESD), and faculty of social science at Chiang Mai University. Next, Hawley will travel to Malaysia to work with. Dr. AAhad Osman-Gani, dean of Graduate and Professional Studies and an international expert on Human Resource Development at the International Islamic University of Malaysia. Ending his time in Vietnam at the National University of Economics and Business Hanoi with Dr. Tran Quang Tuyen, professor and director of the Center for Socio-Economic Analysis and Databases.
The framework of the project is drawn from Hawley’s book “Data Sciences in The Public Interest: Improving State and Local Government Performance in the Workforce.” The publication outlines how government policies and data systems are used to improve education for the workforce. “This investigation gives me an opportunity to build on the research work I completed for my book, extending a study on decision making in the United States to the ASEAN region while examining the differences in governance, educational systems and culture intersect,” Hawley. “These efforts can also contribute to the ongoing endeavors in ASEAN nations to improve the connections between education systems and the workforce. ASEAN sees TVET as a major educational priority, and both the regional government and individual national governments are clearly focused on understanding how to respond to shifts in economic systems.” The study also aims to foster better communication between ASEAN and the SEAMO organization, and host country governments to improve the linkages between labor market data and educational planning. “These are exactly the same problems that the U.S. states and government in Washington face because the economic forces are forcing all governments to wrestle with changes in educational services, and focus attention on the use of information to improve government performance,” Hawley added.
Learn more about the award.