Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing

Proprietors of two training institutes in Phuentsholing say the Ministry of Labour and Human Resources (MoLHR) has denied them a training programme they won through open tender.

They say training institutes are businesses that have been equally hit by the pandemic and sustainability is at stack.

The proprietor of Druk Institute of Management and Technology (DIMT), Dorje Dema, said they have bills to pay, such as rents and staff salaries.

“There were two batches of training. Although the first batch was completed, we were not given the second batch,” Dorji Dema said.

However, the ministry awarded the second batch training programmes to institutes in Gelephu and Thimphu, she said. 

The proprietor said it was not about making profits at this time but about sustenance.

“Although Phuentsholing may not have trainees interested, we asked if we could conduct the training in the green zone, which was not approved,” Dorje Dema said.

The proprietor of USD Institute for Professional Development (USDIPD) training institute said they were also not awarded the second batch, adding that they even appealed to the ministry.

“Our contract was over in November 2021. But we wrote to the ministry before that for consideration,” he said.

He said that a ministry official informed him via email that his institute’s performance was not good. The ministry should have informed him earlier, he said, adding that he has two training spaces that costs him around Nu 35,000 per month.

“I have six staff,” he said.

MoLHR’s Response

According to the labour ministry, it was ICT and Online Freelancing Programme, which was initiated with the objective to take advantage of the skilling and online freelancing avenues through the use of ICT. The tender was floated openly to the registered private training providers and a total of five training institutes were awarded the job.

A total of 200 jobseekers were targeted to be trained (40 each for a training institute in two batches). The contract was signed on July 31, 2020 with the five training providers.

However, according to the contract, the consultant may not be allowed to continue with the second batch if the programme’s objective was not met for the first batch.

The programme officer with the labour ministry’s Training and Development Division (TDD), Rattu said that as per this clause the ministry assessed the post-training impacts in terms of the employment of the graduates in ICT related works and works in the field of online freelancing for the two training institutes.

“However, as per the post training activities or employment details of the graduates, the ministry came to know that graduates are working in the jobs not relevant to the ICT and Online Freelancing and many are found unemployed,” she said.

“Therefore, the training had not fulfilled the objective of fostering livelihood and income generation through the online opportunities available in different global platforms.”

Rattu said the training in Phuentsholing was also hampered by frequent lockdowns as Phuentsholing is in the high-risk area, which also led to the delay in the completion of the training programme.

“Therefore, the ministry management decided to not implement the second batch of training with both the training institutes in Phuentsholing.”