KP Sharma

In response to the expanding global job market and with the aim of making technical and vocational education and training (TVET) more appealing to young people, the government is pursuing a programme-modernisation initiative.

According to the draft 21st Century Economic Roadmap, approximately 100,000 young individuals are projected to enter the workforce over the next decade. A significant portion of these youths will actively seek opportunities for skill development.

Norbu Wangchuk, the Director of Workforce Planning and Skill Development, has declared that the TVET sector is set to undergo transformational changes to cultivate a skilled workforce capable of driving a dynamic and sustainable economy.

He underscored that this transformation is geared toward nurturing a workforce that is well-prepared for employment, globally competent, and ready to tackle future challenges. “These initiatives are poised to play a pivotal role in addressing issues related to unemployment.”

The transformation initiative is founded upon four core pillars, centered around place, people, product, and process transformations.

The people transformation aspect focuses on nurturing a cadre of TVET leaders who possess not only competence and innovation but also essential qualities required to elevate the TVET system to a global level.

“This also entails training instructors and managers in areas such as emotional intelligence, problem-solving, creativity, and analytical skills, among others,” Norbu Wangchuk said.

According to him, the place transformation dimension emphasises the development of infrastructure and the creation of facilities that foster an authentic learning environment for students. “We are unwavering in our commitment to provide essential facilities and the ambiance necessary for students to engage fully in the programme.”

In terms of product transformation, the initiative aims to diversify TVET courses in alignment with the emerging needs of both the local and global economies. The primary focus will be on expanding the range of TVET course options to meet the ever-growing demands of the industry.

Regarding process transformation, Norbu Wangchuk said that it will concentrate on establishing a robust and passionate TVET system. This will encompass streamlining TVET governance and institutional mechanisms to ensure efficient management of the TVET system. Additionally, it involves the development of maps and skill frameworks to address skill mismatches and the strengthening of local and international partnerships and linkages.

Norbu Wangchuk said that TVET reform has already been set in motion and that within the next five to six years, this sector will become highly attractive to young people seeking skill development opportunities.

To bolster these reform initiatives, the government has forged partnerships with experts from institutions such as the Institute of Technical Education in Singapore, Technical and Further Education in Australia (TAFE), and Humber College in Canada.

Furthermore, in addition to the government’s budgetary allocation, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has recently granted approval for a USD 30 million loan, which will be invested in the coming years to bolster these efforts.