After the introduction of the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) curriculum in seven pilot schools in the country, many students have shown interest, unlike in the past when students merely opted for TVET just for marks.
The Ministry of Education (MoE) constructed 13 workshops inside the school campus in Bayling, Rangjung, Chumey and Punakha Central Schools, and other schools in Khuruthang and Babesa, and Bajothang. These are the identified TVET schools because they are located near Technical Training Institutes (TTIs), especially when students need to use heavy machinery and other tools. Students are engaged in TVET practical classes on Saturdays in order to avoid interruption in their general classes.
An official from the Department of School Division (DSE) said in the past there were five TVET schools started in 2011 but there was no curriculu, therefore, MoE carried out a study, where they were recommended to come up with a formal TVET curriculum for classes IX to XII and aligned with TTIs.
TVET is an elective or optional subject, and in order to encourage students to take up TVET subjects, several advocacies were provided to the students and parents. The education ministry has also set a curriculum starting from the pre-primary level where they have integrated curriculum in the general subjects, classes from IV to VIII, they have clubs and pre-vocational orientation programs where the students are orientated on the vocational subjects. The students in classes IX to XII are given career education where students are made aware on choices to pursue general education or follow the TVET pathway.
The Bhutan Education Blueprint 2014-2024 (2014) emphasizes on the importance on equipping students with both the country’s traditional and contemporary knowledge to enable them to lead a productive and meaningful life
According to the Bhutan Education Blueprint 2014-2024, there is a need to have an alternative career pathway, and not just to focus on general education.
Although integration of skilling in the education system has been there for a long time, however, the blueprint further strengthens having TVET in schools, where students will be equipped with vocational skills to enable them to lead a productive life, said the official.
In the past students took up TVET classes just for marks and not with a core interest in the skilling field. “But now we are grooming the students, and it is picking up among the students,” said the official.
If students join TVET from class X then they have the advantage of credit transfer to join TTIs. The credit transfer system enables the students to skip the courses that they have already taken during their school days.
The school graduates are awarded with two certificates, the general certificate and the TVET certificate. Also, students will get the NC-2 complete certificate, which helps them to directly join the labour market after class XII.
The official added that if the students can also opt for general education it if they feel that TVET is not the course they want to pursue.
Moreover, the ministry is providing a scholarship for students to encourage them to join TVET and also TVET is open to all streams.
The official said that there are many graduates without skill, and they cannot be absorbed in the labour market. Therefore, TVET is crucial to be taught in schools so that graduates have employable skills and curb the unemployment issues.
According to MoE, the plan is to have one TVET school in every dzongkhag. When TTIs come under the education ministry, this will further help in streamlining the full scope of TVET.
Currently, the only challenge is the mindset towards TVET, and the most common issue raised by the TVET graduates is the mismatch of what they learned and are actually doing when it comes to real industries.
Meanwhile, MoE initiated a TVET pilot school in seven secondary schools in the country funded by the Asian Development Bank.