The USD 30 million Asian Development Bank (ADB)’s financial support that was announced towards the end of last month for Bhutan’s technical and vocational education and training (TVET) system will be used for four strategic outputs, which are enhanced accessibility to skills development, both digital and physical; enhanced quality of skills training; fostering industry partnerships and private sector engagement in TVET and strengthening the image and institutional capacity of TVET.
According to the Bank, the first output’s outcome aims to broaden the reach of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) and Special Education Needs (SEN) schools by upgrading of Technical Training Institutes (TTIs) in Chumey, Samthang, and Rangjung, as well as the Rural Development Training Centre (RDTC) in Zhemgang, transforming them into leading institutions specializing in specific training areas such as construction, ICT, and modern agriculture for exports. This upgrade will involve the construction of new academic buildings, workshops, hostels, and other facilities or renovation of existing ones.
The output also contains the provision of a minimum of 1,000 internationally recognized online course licenses, typically granting unlimited access to multiple courses for one year and providing support to children with disabilities, including those who are not attending school, through home visits and ensuring smooth transitions to TVET. The online courses will cater to job seekers, students, people with disabilities, teachers, and instructors seeking access to high-quality digital content for re-skilling and up-skilling, based on their career development objectives. Approximately 40% of these opportunities will be made available to women. Gender-responsive infrastructure improvements will encompass separate toilets, changing rooms, and hostel facilities. Infrastructure will be designed to be more accessible for people with disabilities through universal design principles, including well-lit hallways without steps, accessible entries, ramps for access, emergency exits equipped with visual and braille signage, sound systems, as well as childcare facilities, breastfeeding rooms, menstrual hygiene facilities, and lounges for women with disabilities in TTIs and SEN schools.
For enhanced quality of skills training, outcome focus will be on diversifying and upgrading a minimum of 12 courses aligned with emerging skills and job opportunities, such as timber framing and building insulation, network security, hydropower mechanics, solar energy, food processing, floriculture, medicinal plants, and seed technology. This will be accompanied by the development of gender- and disability-sensitive, such as high-quality curricula, globally benchmarked frameworks and standards, and innovative teaching and assessment methods. More advanced courses, including the National Certificate Level 3 and diplomas, will be designed for emerging occupations. To support this, laboratory equipment and furniture will be provided to all public TVET institutions, and pathways will be established for students completing introductory courses at TVET premier schools under the Skills Training and Education Pathways Upgradation Project. SEN schools will receive specialized equipment and computers with text-to-speech and speech recognition capabilities to enhance the quality of inclusive education and skills development. This outcome will also strengthen the capacities of TVET instructors and SEN school teachers through training programs, industry attachment initiatives within the country, and overseas training to nurture inspiring, visionary, and inclusive leaders in skills development.
In fostering industry partnerships and private sector engagement in TVET, outcome will facilitate industry partnerships by reinforcing internships, capstone projects, and dual training programs in selected sectors like construction, furniture making, and automobiles; involving industry professionals as guest lecturers and for standard setting and career guidance; conducting essential skills training in collaboration with private training providers, relevant industry partners, and civil society organizations (CSOs) working toward gender equity and social inclusion (GESI); supporting job placement activities post-training, including job fairs, entrepreneurship development, resume writing, and job interview skills for TVET graduates and job seekers; conducting GESI awareness programs for industries; and supporting self-sustainable activities of Technical Training Institutes (TTIs) that engage with industries.
For strengthening the Image and Institutional capacity of TVET the outcome entails various actions, including: raising awareness about TVET and people with disabilities among youth, particularly women, and communities in partnership with CSOs; providing support for career counseling and mentoring, especially for women and youth with disabilities; developing pathways linking general education, TVET, and higher education; conducting studies and training programs to enhance the capacity for planning and implementing TVET and inclusive education policies; and strengthening national and international partnerships involving SEN schools, TVET institutions, and industries. Organizing national skills competitions and facilitating participation in international skills competitions; updating the Ministry of Education’s disaster management and contingency plan and preparing school and TTI-specific disaster management plans; enhancing project management and implementation capacity; engaging experts for tasks such as disability assessments and digital fabrication technology for children with disabilities; and preparing feasibility studies and detailed engineering designs for upcoming education and skills development projects are other aspects.
“This project will improve access to and expand the coverage of TVET courses in partnership with various stakeholders to boost workers’ skills, especially women and youth with disability, to support the country’s sustainable development,” ADB Social Sector Economist Ryotaro Hayashi had earlier said.
Sherab Dorji from Thimphu