Choki Wangmo

Of 18 recommendations Special Committee of Nation Council (NC) for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) submitted last year, the committee’s recent assessment showed that the implementing authorities met only half of them.

During the deliberation on follow-up reports on the resolution of the previous NC session yesterday, the eminent member and committee’s chairperson Phuntsho Rapten said that revamping works for TVET were either midway, ongoing or in the initial stage.

“The recommendations were important and timely, but the progress is lukewarm and the committee is not satisfied,” he said.

One of the most important recommendations was to develop a comprehensive national TVET policy to foster unified growth and progress of TVET system in the country. However, the revision of draft TVET policy 2013 is currently on hold as the expert working group was established to look into TVET governance structure by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) last September.

The PMO has instituted expert group for TVET governance and TVET curriculum but there are no developments and updates, Phuntsho Rapten said. “The lack of national policy is impeding the success of the programme in the country.”

The special committee had also recommended the need for a National Institute of Technical Education within labour ministry to serve as an apex body for providing professional development services.

Although the PMO is looking into it, the committee was told that it was not included in the current plan. “Everyone knows TVET is important but it is worrying since the sector is not getting its due importance. TVET blueprint has documented necessary activities and plans but new activities are being planned.”

The committee presented updates on the establishment of TVET council, skills council, professional development of instructors and trainees, diversification of courses and financial support, among others.

Labour ministry is expected to revisit the 18 recommendations of the special committee in July.

Meanwhile, Deputy Chairperson of the Good Governance Committee Sangay Dorji said that of three recommendations to the education ministry regarding the government’s decision to remove the cut-off point, the committee was dissatisfied on the impact analysis on the quality of education.

The committee recommended that the education ministry should reconsider conducting a thorough impact analysis of the removal of cut-off point for class X students, particularly on the quality of education, financial sustainability and social problems.

The ministry responded that there were no studies on the impact of the initiative but Samtse College of Education was conducting research on the subject.

Gasa National Council member Dorji Khandu questioned the authenticity of the study. “The government’s move on removing the cut-off point is at a national level but Samtse College’s focus is on academic research. The ministry needs to conduct in-depth research to better understand the impact.”

“The move has created more gaps between the rich and the poor, going against the government’s vision of narrowing the gap,” he said.

The House also deliberated on the annual Anti-Corruption report 2018, recommending the judiciary to explore appropriate measures such as the establishment of special bench for corruption cases to expedite the trial process.

The judiciary will establish a special bench in the four regions by this month. Updates on reducing harmful use of alcohol and fronting issues were also presented by the respective committees.