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Lyonchhen Dr Lotay Tshering, Education Minister JB Rai and Education Secretary Karma Yeshey at the APA signing yesterday
Lyonchhen Dr Lotay Tshering, Education Minister JB Rai and Education Secretary Karma Yeshey at the APA signing yesterday

MoE to create scholarships for TVET

Ministry of Education has earmarked 15 percent of the undergraduate scholarship for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) for the first time.

This is one of the six key deliverable areas targeted in its Annual Performance Agreement for 2019-2020.

Incorporating Prime Minister’s suggestions during the ministry’s APA review on July 30, Education Minister JB Rai signed the APA with the Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering yesterday, followed by the signing of APA between education secretary and department heads.

Initially the signing of APA with education ministry was cancelled after the ministry had not incorporated changes and suggestions discussed during the review.

Education Secretary Karma Yeshey said that as suggested by the prime minister and considering the importance of TVET, the ministry kept 15 percent of the scholarship slots in the field of TVET from this financial year. “The graduates are expected to teach in a technical training institutes after the completion.”

Director general of Department of Adult and Higher Education, Kesang Choden Dorji, said that keeping slots for TVET is not to duplicate labour ministry’s plans and that the scholarship slots for the rest of the undergraduate fields would remain the same.

“The scholarship for TVET would be a diploma course or advanced diploma, which would be equivalent to a degree,” she added.

Karma Yeshey said that the ministry would establish 115 new Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) across the country. The centre will be funded by UNICEF and Global Partnership for Education. “This will be an addition to the ECCD planned by the Local Governments and established by privately.”

The ministry’s APA for the first time has earmarked five percent of undergraduate scholarship for teachers to be sent to the developed countries to experience world-class education, according to the Secretary.

With the signing of APA, the ministry has also targeted to recruit teachers and to improve efficiency in the deployment system to reduce teacher shortages. The secretary added that this was based on the suggestion made by the prime minister.

One of the success indicators also includes adequate number of teachers by subjects (shortage reduced) where the targets are to reduce Dzongkha teacher attrition to 400 from 571, Science teacher to 80 from 150, and 66 from 111 general teachers. Another success indicator is to decrease the number of youth in conflict with the law from 487 (2017) to 390.

Another two key areas the ministry will focus are providing 40 hours professional development programme to all teachers as per the Teacher HR policy 2014 and start TVET as an optional subject from 2020 academic year.

“In collaboration with relevant agencies, we’re finalising curriculum. Construction of workshops are expected to complete before the academic session and trainers are also being trained,” the secretary said.

The ministry has also changed its target from reducing attempted suicide to identification and prevention. The ministry will seek, identify and implement a plan to provide services to avoid suicide attempts among students.

While singing the APA with the minister, Lyonchhen said that the suggestions he made were only to make sure that plans were incorporated with new changes and not to undermine the ministry’s work. “I could not go through the APA in detail. However, in future the approach to APA should be changed. If possible I would like to dedicate one month to APA activities.”

Lyonchhen said that he was in dialogue with the Gross National Happiness Commission and finance ministry to rework on APA and to remove the plan if they are not important or necessary.

“Education is important. National impacts are mostly dependent on education. We should bring a systematic change,” Lyonchhen said.

Yangchen C Rinzin

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