TVET: To address the growing demand for skilled workers, the labour ministry has started drafting a blueprint for the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET).

The TVET blueprint will articulate a long-term strategic vision to guide and influence reforms and developments in TVET over the next 15 years.

The blueprint is expected to provide means to address the needs to maximize the impact of TVET on skilling the Bhutanese for a greater economic development.

At the closing of the consultation workshop on the blueprint yesterday, participants pointed out the lack of financial support offered to the TVET programmes. Participants said the government need to accord priority to adequate TVET budget to address youth unemployment issue.

Labour secretary Pema Wangda said the TVET sector in Bhutan is confronted with issues like low economic relevance and low social status.  “So much so that our young jobseekers would rather remain unemployed than take up technical and vocational training leading to the paradoxical situation of rising youth unemployment on one hand and increasing import of skilled foreign workers on the other,” he said.

The secretary added that the blueprint would help stakeholders concerned to redefine TVET and make it more relevant to the needs of the economy by improving the quality of TVET and achieving efficiency in training delivery.

Major reforms in TVET started in early 2000 and in 2003, it came under the direct administration of the labour ministry. Vocational Education and Training (VET) Policy was developed in 2005 to set qualification framework, improve the quality of TVET training and provide guidance in the development of the TVET programmes.

Works and Human Settlement’s minister Dorji Choden said Bhutan has achieved significantly in its basic education system. “What it now calls us for is to recognise and accept the fact that with education, comes changes.”

The minister added that the mismatch of skills and demand in the industries was not convincing. “The skills training, especially construction related such as plumbing and electrical is in great demand in the market,” she said. “I think, it is not about mismatch but of mastering the skills, quality and workmanship a huge problem now.”

The ministry is receiving technical support from the Japanese government through the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction (JFPR/ADB project) on the development of the blueprint. Department of Human Resources and the Asian Development Bank are drafting the blueprint.

Younten Tshedup