Technical and vocational education and training (TVET) as optional subjects from classes IX to XII would start from the next academic session in seven pilot schools.

Education ministry officials said the new curriculum is in place, instructors are being trained and laboratories and workshops are being constructed in the pilot schools.

Punakha Central School (CS), Khuruthang Middle Secondary School (MS), Rangjung CS would offer electrical subject, Chumey MS will provide mason subject, Bajothang Higher Secondary School (HS) and Babesa HS will offer automobile, and Bayling HS will provide tailoring and painting.

Khuruthang MS and Punakha CS would also provide a mechanical subject, Rangjung CS will also provide carpentry, computer hardware, and Chumey MS would also provide plumbing.

The optional subjects, according to the ministry officials, would be offered only in the five selected pilot secondary schools in the 2019-2020 financial year of the 12th Plan. Two more schools would be piloted in the 2021 academic session.

Offering TVET subjects in the seven pilot schools are reflected in the ministry’s Annual Performance Agreement (APA)’s success indicators.

The ministry’s planning officer, Phurba, said their target is to enroll at least 260 students this fiscal year while presenting the APA to the Prime Minister for review on July 30. The total number of students targeted in the 12th Plan is 2,500 students.

One of the success indicators also include the construction of TVET workshop in seven pilot schools and ensure TVET instructors are inducted on teaching TVET curriculum.

Phurba said that although TVET is introduced holistically to students from class IV through clubs and curriculum inclusion, offering it as a subject would inculcate young students to develop an interest in the TVET and develop skills.

“If everything goes as planned and is successful, the ministry might scale up in the long run,” he said. “This would help youth in career guidance and opt for TVET related jobs in future.”

The work has already started where through the STEP-UP project funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and implemented by education and labour ministries, seven labs/workshops are under construction in all the secondary schools.

Meanwhile, the pilot schools were identified based on their location near the Technical Training Institutes (TTIs) and once the workshops are completed, it would help improve the vocational orientation of the secondary education system.

About 11 teachers have also been recruited through the project. The teachers have various backgrounds in TVET and being trained currently. There is also a plan to recruit two more teachers.

The work on the procurement of equipment has also been processed.

It was also reported that the Royal Education Council has also completed and developed a curriculum framework for TVET course including the teaching-learning materials to be implemented when the optional subjects are implemented.

This is expected to improve the employability of TVET graduates and secondary school students.

Asian Development Bank (ADB) is funding USD 15 million (M) as grant and the government is investing USD 3M.

There are 111 TTIs in the country today, of which 97 are privately owned.

Yangchen C Rinzin