Tashi Dema

For the first time, Australia Awards (AA) offered two diploma scholarships to study travel and tourism management.

This, according to Australia’s deputy head of mission to India and Bhutan Rodney Hilton, is to support the government’s aspirations of developing the technical and vocational education and training (TVET).

“Australia Awards scholarships have traditionally supported masters-level study in Bhutan but this year, we have been able to amend the programme to support the government’s aspirations of developing the TVET sector, and I am delighted that two very talented young women will undertake Diploma of Travel and Tourism Management in Australia,” he said.

Rodney Hilton said he is confident that two women would be able to contribute to the government’s recognition of tourism as a flagship programme in the 12th Plan. “The two recipients have the potential to contribute to the improvement of livelihood and create employment and diversify the economy after returning to Bhutan.”

Australia Awards scholarships offered to 13 Bhutanese professionals – nine women and four men – to study in a range of disciplines in 2020.

Rodney Hilton said the 13 scholarship recipients are selected from more than 500 applicants and they are a diverse and high-achieving group of people. “These prestigious awards will help equip you with the skills to become leaders in your communities and contribute to sustainable and equitable economic development in Bhutan.”

He said that Australia-Bhutan’s friendship started in the early 1960s with the Colombo Plan. “Human resource capacity development in Bhutan through education remained constant throughout the cooperation.”

There are about 2,000 Bhutanese students studying in Australia and the deputy head of mission to India and Bhutan said the increasing number of Bhutanese students studying in Australia through private funding is a testament to the trust and friendship between the countries.

The Commissioner of the Royal Civil Service Commission, Dhanapati Mishra, said as the country progresses in developmental activities, there is need for competent and skilled human resources both in government and the private sector. “The scholarship is expected to equip the awards with new skills to create a better and stronger country back home”.

The secretary of the Ministry of Labour and Human Resources, Sonam Wangchuk said, human resource development, including in the private sector, is very important to Bhutan’s socio-economic development.

He said providing the diploma scholarships will not only help the recipients gain skills and knowledge but exposure and experience different work culture, which will positively contribute towards greater efficiency and productivity.

He thanked the Australian government for the flexiblity and diversification of the programme this year. “We are happy that diploma programmes in various fields will be offered henceforth based on the needs of the private sector.”

Meanwhile, Rodney Hilton also presented an Alumni Award for National Leadership to former executive director of RENEW, Tandin Wangmo, on behalf of the University of Newcastle.