With no budget allocated to conduct the national assessment for those graduating from technical training institutes, about 144 public and private technical training institutes will have to bear the expenses for a national assessment for the July – December period this year.

The department of occupational standards with the labour ministry that conducted the assessment so far notified about this to the private and public technical training institutes on July 23.

“The department lacks capital fund and the new fund release for 12FYP will be delayed, as the budget will be approved by the new parliament. Therefore, the department won’t be able to bear the expenses for the assessment in the aforementioned period for either public or private institutes,” the letter states.

It costs the department of occupational standards, between Nu 1-2 million annually to conduct the national assessment.

Without a national assessment, the courses taken by the trainees would not be certified, which would affect their employment opportunities.

The notice has received mixed reactions from about 200 culture guide trainees who completed their courses in July. The notification according to them was issued adhoc at the end of course and two days late than the assessment schedule planned by the department on July 21.

Kado, 39, proprietor of Institute of Professional Studies (IPS) said that the department should have informed the institute about the lack of budget for assessment earlier.

In the interest of trainees that have completed their courses, he claimed that the institute was willing to bear the expenses for the assessment. “The department was not willing to send us the officials for the assessment. Timetable and assessment date were not issued. We urged the department not to hold the trainees and issue them the certificates at the earliest,” Kado said.

The batch of culture guide trainees who completed their three months course on July 17 have been approaching the institute for an assessment update to receive their national certificate level-II.

Karma, 33, a culture guide trainee from Haa said that the department has informed the institute about the change in the last minute. “We pursued this course to get employed. Some attended the course by staying with relatives,” he said.

He added that this situation has caused confusion among their parents and relatives. “They feel we have lied to them as we our assessment is not done despite completing the course,” he said. “There was a notification floated earlier stating that the assessment would be conducted on July 21. But it didn’t happen.”

About 540 trainees from public and private training institutes are expected to have completed their courses in July.

Officiating director with department of occupational standards, Karma Loday said the department funded the national assessment with support from an international project as a pilot project. “The project is over now and the government this year did not approve the budget for the assessment.  We came to know about this only after we were notified on July 10,” he said.

The budget notification for 2018-19 FYP and revised budget for labour ministry refrains the departments and division from carrying out activities for which there is no budget provision and also to limit expenditure of the approved budget.

“The capital budget is exclusively provided for spill over, critical, regular, ongoing donor funded activities, and loan repayment. No budget is provided for new activities from draft 12FYP,” the notification states.

The department plans to fund only the assessment resource developers, professional fees for assessment resources developers, catering services charges, and conference hiring charges among others.

Institutes providing accredited courses will have to bear the expenses for professional fees, daily allowance and travel allowance when the assessment is carried out in the future, according to labour officials.

“Most of the ministries are affected by the same change in budget approval. There are no regulations, which mandates us to bear the expenses for the assessment. With the increase in institutes getting registered yearly, it will be inconvenient for the department to carryout the assessment as we have been doing to date,” said Karma Loday.

Kado said that the current situation contradicts the government’s aim of supporting private sector development.

Labour officials claimed that the lack of assessment budget received complaints from few institutes only.