KP Sharma

To improve the technical and vocational education and training (TVET) system and enhance the skills and employability of Bhutanese, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a loan of USD 30 million, according to the ADB’s news release of August 30.

ADB’s social sector economist, Ryotaro Hayashi, said that to tackle the rising youth unemployment in Bhutan, ADB is intensifying its assistance in implementing the country’s strategic plan for TVET reform, strategic plan implementation for transforming product, place, people, and process.

“This project will improve access to and expand the coverage of TVET courses in partnership with various stakeholders to boost workers’ skills, especially women and youth with disabilities, to support the country’s sustainable development.”

According to the news release, the project will help construct new buildings, workshops, hostels, and upgrade facilities in technical training institutes in Chumey, Samthang, Rangjung, and the rural development training center in Zhemgang.

The project aims to provide digital and physical training opportunities for diverse groups such as students, teachers, those with disabilities, and job seekers from TVET and special education needs (SEN) schools.

The support highlighted ADB’s commitment to assisting children with disabilities, including out-of-school children in accessing TVET education through home-based instructions.

In addition, the project will focus on enhancing skills training programmes for emerging occupations such as new construction technology, hydropower mechanics, network security, food processing, floriculture, and seed technology. These programmes will be developed and upgraded to global standards.

Further, TVET institutions will receive laboratory equipment for developing and offering courses in emerging fields and industries.

On the other hand, special education needs (SEN) schools will be supplied with special equipment and computers featuring text-to-speech and speech recognition functions that enhance the quality of education and skills development opportunities for children with disabilities.

The project will enhance collaboration with industry leaders, the private sector, civil society organizations, and development partners including Humber College from Canada.

This partnership will focus on offering internship opportunities, training programs, counseling, mentoring, career development and guidance, and job placements, especially for women and youth with disabilities.

As per the news release, national and international partnerships will be established for SEN schools, TVET institutions, and technical training institutes to build institutional capacity.

An additional USD 2 million in grants from ADB’s Japan Fund for Prosperous and Resilient Asia and the Pacific will also be allocated to support the project implementation.

This funding will be directed towards enhancing the quality, accessibility, and capacity to provide education and skill development programs that are inclusive of individuals with disabilities.