More than 40 principals, vice-principals and senior instructors of technical training institutes (TTI), Institutes of  Zorig Chusums (IZC) institutes, and representatives from private training institutes and industries are attending the two-day TVET symposium in Thimphu.

The Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) professional services division of the labour ministry organised the symposium with the theme “Celebrating History of TVET in Bhutan – Towards TVET for Sustainable Development”.

Some pioneer TVET educationists, leaders of the TVET educationists and practitioners shared the history of TVET system in Bhutan and success stories to uplift the image of TVET.

Speakers highlighted that the disregard for vocational work still exists today, including the mismatch of jobs in the market.

One of the panelists, Anup Mahat from TTI in Khuruthang, said that there has been a lot of talk about the issue, yet nobody has worked towards improving the technical education and standardisation of the facility and trainers. “This should have taken place a long time back and the goodness in TVET is still missing.”

The concerns about how vocational jobs are still looked down upon as a blue-collar job were shared. The panel discussed how the people with vocational skills work in dissimilar fields leading to mismatch in the employment area.

Managing Director of Bhutan Power Corporation, Gem Tshering, who was one of the speakers, said: “If we are skilled to work in a certain field, there is no shame to work instead of working at office with minimal knowledge about the job.”

Another panelist, Tandin Dorji, said that Bhutan started TVET in 1965 and that there is a need to keep apace with changing time.

“When technologies are changing fast, how can we train the trainees with machines that was installed in 1965,” he asked. “This is where the mismatch of job is happening today.”

Head of Department of Bhutan Calcium and Carbide Limited (BCCL), Passang Sherpa, said that bonus and increment would help improve employee’s efficiency and to make jobs attractive.

The participants pointed out that despite having Bhutanese skilled workers, there is still large number of foreign nationals working in the country.

The chief executive officer of Construction Development Corporation Limited, Phuntsho Gyeltshen, said that the problem of minimum turn up of Bhutanese in such area of work couldn’t be solved immediately. “For every tender we provide, we have a requirement to have at least 30 percent of the Bhutanese workers for the project. Through such activities, employment opportunities are also made available.”

The symposium, which will end today, is aimed at educating leaders and managers of TVET institutions and organisations on TVET practice to prepare better TVET leaders in future. It is also expected to update and the current TVET system by sharing best TVET practices in the region.

There are 99 registered TVET providers operating in Bhutan including private, public, NGOs and corporations.

Yangchen C Rinzin 

Additional reporting by Phurpa Lhamo