Creation of employment is a key focus area of the Tenth Five Year Plan. In order to generate the targeted level of employment in the country, nearly 50,000 people will need to be skilled in Bhutan over the next three years. Vocational training can provide the most rapid scale up of skilled supply. The current vocational system needs to strengthen to drive economic development. Some of the common problems in this area are that of capacity, quality and employability:
- There is insufficient capacity to address future upskilling needs
- There is limited linkage with employer needs resulting in low employment
- There are gaps in faculty quality and curriculum due to an inadequate quality assurance system
These reasons make vocational education unattractive for the youth, despite causing a significant strain on government resources.
1. Increase in number of vocational graduates per year to 6000 by 2013
2. Ensuring employment for 70-80% of the graduates within 4 months
3. Reducing the operating expenditure for each student
Seven key initiatives have been undertaken to achieve these aspirations:
1. Diversification of courses:
- Revised and competency based curricula developed for carpentry. Masonry, plumbing, auto mechanic, electrical, furniture upholstery design. Curriculum mapping for ICT, tourism and hospitality initiated. Customized short term training for up-skilling is also initiated;
- Plans to diversify courses and to introduce Competency Based Training (CBT) System are initiated. Masonry, plumbing, auto mechanic, carpentry and electrical curricula are revised, and a upholstery design training package developed. The CBT will have content directly related to industry needs, focus on performance and an assessment based on industry work standards
2. Creating framework for external participation in TVET sector:
- The Ministry has launched the Establishment Regulation for Private Training Institutes and Registration Regulation for Training Providers for national training providers and same for the international training providers will be initiated. This has been done to open up the TVET sector and encourage external participation in the TVET sector. Two rounds of PPP workshops and TVET conference has been convened to meet the following objectives:
i. Promote and transform TVET in Bhutan
ii. Promote Private Sector participation in TVET delivery
iii. Diversify TVET programmes/short courses
iv. Inform private training providers (both existing as well as potential) on the establishment and registration processes as well as the diversification needs in TVET in Bhutan
Draft PPP framework and ToRs for the TVET Advisory Board and the Institute Management Board is currently being reviewed;
- To open up the TVET sector and encourage external participation a framework for external participation is developed. The Ministry has launched establishment regulation for private training providers and registration regulation for training providers. A series of workshops with the private sector were convened to strengthen PPP in TVET. Draft PPP framework and ToR for the TVET Advisory Board are being drafted.
3. Enabling creation of private institutes for VET in Tourism, ICT and Nursing: Reviewed nine private training proposals for establishment and recommended five for issuance of business licence to DoI, MoEA. Expression of Interest (EoI) has been called for providing training in the ICT and tourism and hospitality services. IT/ITES (BPOs) programs already initiated under PPP framework. Fund earmarked for 20 ICT trainers from private sector under TTT (Train the trainer) program. A total of ten PPP contracts will be signed under the ICT sector training and one under the tourism and hospitality sector by July 2010.
4. To increase quality and capacity of training in Construction, Agriculture, Arts and Crafts: identified courses for up-skilling; commitments received from Hindustan Construction Co., Gammon India Ltd., and Larsen and Tubro facilitated on-the job training for 5 VTI trained drivers in operation of construction machinery. Intake capacity in construction sector increased to 439 in 2010 from 325 in 2009.
The department will introduce CBT in all the TVET institutes beginning August 2010. This program will ensure relevance of courses offered in the institutes to the labour market demand. The department has also started PPP strategy with full private sector participation in all aspects of TVET. Recruitment of new instructors has also been initiated to maintain the ideal instructor: trainee ration of 1:12. And up-gradation of both qualification and skills of the present instructors were initiated. The department has also initiated procurement of adequate training tools and equipments for all the institutes to enhance the quality of training. Expansion of infrastructures in all the institutes are underway to increase the intake and quality of training delivery. Then quality & capacity in construction sector are also explored through joint venture/collaborations with the Indian multi-national construction companies.
5. To reduce per-student government operating expenditure on VET by ~50%: A draft strategy for cost reduction has already been prepared. Preliminary discussion held with DoP and DGPC on the possibility of taking over/adopting some of the VTIs. Competency Based Training (CBT) will be launched from August. This will go a long way in reducing the operational expenditure on TVET.
6. Strengthen the framework for accreditation and quality assurance of VET training courses: Competency-based standards or Occupational Skill Standards (OSS) will be developed for priority occupations in the identified priority economic sectors (mainly construction, ICT, Tourism and Hospitality, etc.,). So far, OSS development has been completed for eight occupations: plumbing, masonry, carpentry, electrical, auto mechanic, IT application assistant, Mechanical Fitter and Welder. Each OSS is developed with enhanced participation of industry at different levels and bench marked with international standards. Technical Advisory Committees have been established for seven priority economic sectors (construction, ICT, automobile, manufacturing, power, tourism & hospitality, and art & crafts) and are functioning with improved participation and contributions.
An Accreditation Policy/Guideline has been developed in the final draft form. However, expertise input is awaited for the finalisation of the policy document and the development of accreditation instruments or the rating system. Initiation of the accreditation system will greatly depend on the implementation status of the registration system and the introduction of quality management systems in the training institutions.
The above represents a few of the several on-going quality improvement activities initiated by the department under the TVET reform process during the 10th FYP period.
7. To improve the attractiveness of VET as a rewarding, mainstream choice for the students: Considering the importance of TVET to develop skilled manpower for sustainable economic growth and as a means to achieve Bhutan’s HRD vision of promoting a knowledge based society with citizens of high employability and productivity, the Ministry has taken several initiatives to reposition TVET as mainstream choice. The Ministry has completed finalising the Bhutan Vocational Qualifications Framework (BVQF) and linking of the TVET to tertiary education. The framework and the linkage will open up the career path and allow the TVET graduates to pursue higher levels of training, higher studies and help promote lifelong learning. As a rebranding exercise, Vocational training institutions were renamed restructured as centre of excellences. The Ministry has also undertaken initiatives to bring the employers on board to enhance employability of the TVET graduates. Hence TVET advisory board and institute management board comprising of representatives from various public and private stakeholders are being formed.