Chimi Dema

In an attempt to achieve 80 percent adult literacy and skills development by 2024, the Bridge Bhutan Project was launched in Thimphu yesterday.

The project aimed at enhancing accessibility for quality education through non-formal education (NFE) consisted of two programmes: implementation of non-formal education projects and annual capacity-building and peer-learning workshops.

“The programmes would enhance access to quality education for educationally marginalised people and create a platform for active interactions and knowledge sharing,” an education official said.

In addition, two community learning centres (CLCs) would be established each year until 2024 in the regions on priority basis considering the need and proposals from the respective dzongkhag administrations and recommendations of the ministry, the official said.

To help NFE graduates and out-of-school youth to continue learning, a six-month CLCs programme would provide vocational skills in tailoring.

Since its inception in 2000, the CLC under the Non-Formal and Continuing Education Programme (NFCEP) equipped out-of-school youth and adults with community development programmes in health, agriculture, education, and entrepreneurial skills, among others.

The country today has 23 CLC centres with 293 learners. At least 84 percent of the learners are women. Considering the increasing number of women learners, many CLCs provide livelihood skills such as tailoring, embroidery, and weaving.

Meanwhile, the NFE programme which began in 1990 has so far benefitted more than 203,000 learners. As of last year, there were 5,476 learners with 520 instructors in 482 NFE centres in the country.

The programme has helped achieve 66.6 percent adult literacy by 2017. Major activities are planned to raise the rate to 80 percent by 2024 and 100 percent by 2030.

To equip the remaining 34 percent with literary skills, diversifying vocational skills in CLCs, enhancing capacity and competency of NFE instructors, and developing digital teaching and learning resources were some of the activities outlined in the project.

To ensure effective implementation of the plans, monitoring and evaluation tools would be developed.

Supported by the Korean National Commission for UNESCO (KNCU), the five-year project is a collaboration between Bhutan National Commission for UNESCO and NFCEP division with the education ministry.

The initiative comes about three months after signing of the memorandum of understanding between KNCU, education ministry and gross national happiness commission to support strengthening non-formal education and community learning Centre programmes in the country.