Bhutan : Skills Training and Education Pathways Upgradation Project
The project will support the government in expanding and upgrading the technical and vocational education and training (TVET) system for modern, diversified, and job-oriented skills development. Bhutan, a landlocked country with a population of 780,000, has made great strides in basic education, and it now needs to accelerate the development of a skilled workforce to meet the economic needs for competitiveness and sustained growth. Bhutan's Twelfth Five-Year Plan, 20182023 prioritizes skills development for jobs.
South Asia Department
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|Project Name||Skills Training and Education Pathways Upgradation Project|
|Country / Economy||Bhutan
|Project Type / Modality of Assistance||Grant
|Source of Funding / Amount||
|Strategic Agendas||Environmentally sustainable growth
Inclusive economic growth
|Drivers of Change||Gender Equity and Mainstreaming
Private sector development
|Sector / Subsector||
Education / Education sector development - Technical and vocational education and training
|Gender Equity and Mainstreaming||Effective gender mainstreaming|
|Description||The project will support the government in expanding and upgrading the technical and vocational education and training (TVET) system for modern, diversified, and job-oriented skills development. Bhutan, a landlocked country with a population of 780,000, has made great strides in basic education, and it now needs to accelerate the development of a skilled workforce to meet the economic needs for competitiveness and sustained growth. Bhutan's Twelfth Five-Year Plan, 20182023 prioritizes skills development for jobs.|
|Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy||
Bhutan made impressive progress in socioeconomic development over 20072017 and its economy grew at an average annual rate of 7.7%. The country doubled its per capita gross domestic product and halved the poverty rate. However, such rapid development was largely driven by the capital-intensive hydropower sector and did not lead to adequate job creation. Economic diversification and job creation are among the top priorities of the government.
Bhutan faces high youth unemployment. The youth unemployment rate of 13.2% in 2016 was 6 times the average national unemployment rate and has been rising in recent years. At the same time, employers find it difficult to recruit skilled workers. Skills shortages are one of the critical constraints to the growth of the private sector and diversification of the economy. According to the National Workforce Plan, 20162022, based on a survey of employers in three priority sectors (construction, tourism, and production), more than 33% of employers face skills shortages, impacting on productivity and business performance. The National Workforce Plan estimates over 78,000 jobs will be generated by the construction, tourism, and manufacturing sectors during 20162022. In 2017, over 14,000 new secondary and tertiary education graduates entered the labor market. Equipping these new graduates with market-oriented skills needed by industry will help reduce the skills shortages.
Challenges in skills development. The skills development system in Bhutan faces constraints in access. In 2016, only 6.9% of grade 10 students enrolled in TVET. The current annual intake capacity of the public technical training institutes (TTIs) is limited, catering to only about 635 students, compared to the over 3,000 grade 10 graduates and nearly 6,000 grade 12 graduates entering the workforce in 2016. The TTIs offer courses mostly at the basic certificate level and in traditional areas (e.g., electrical, mechanical, welding, automobile, masonry, plumbing, and carpentry) mostly associated with manual work, which is not preferred by youth mainly because of the low social recognition for this type of work. Training for emerging occupations, including service sector jobs such as information technology (IT) and IT-enabled services, food and beverage, tourism and hospitality, media and communication, and food processing, is required. Outdated and dysfunctional equipment in TTIs is in dire need of replacement. Trainers lack capacity and professional development. There is a need for career guidance with exposure to the world of work to increase awareness of school students and parents of skills development opportunities leading to jobs.
Skills development in the country also faces the challenge of lack of quality and relevance. An estimated 80% of training programs are delivered at the basic certificate level, which does not command much market value. There is a shortage of middle and advanced skills, with demand largely met by foreign workers. Such a shortage will constrain the continued advancement of Bhutan and its ability to deliver sustainable jobs to its predominantly young population. The government recognizes the need for enhancing the capacities of trainers through in-service training programs and international collaborations in TVET. It aims to provide IT-based teaching and learning processes in schools and TTIs to adequately prepare the country's youth for an increasingly digital marketplace. Schools are preponderantly geared to academic education without sufficient preparation for the world of work. Labor market surveys reveal that Bhutanese youth do not possess the skills that employers are looking for, which gives rise to skills mismatches. Partnerships with private sector training providers to deliver market-relevant courses will help address such mismatches and improve job placements.
Opportunities in skills development. The government attaches great importance to skills development for jobs and is highly committed to improving the TVET sector. A number of policy documents provide the basis for this. The TVET Blueprint, 20162026 articulates the vision for improving and transforming the skills development system. The Education Blueprint, 20142024 outlines priorities for enhancing education quality, including strengthening TVET in schools. The Economic Development Policy of 2016 aims to diversify the economy, which requires appropriately skilled human capital. The government plans to expand capacities for TVET provision, and raise the proportion of higher secondary students enrolling in TVET to 20% by 2024 from the current 6.9%. For this, the government recognizes the need for secondary school students (grades 912) to have access to more diversified learning opportunities including vocational training to further pursue TVET.
Prior experience of the Asian Development Bank. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has long-standing experience in TVET and education in Bhutan. ADB financed the establishment of the TTIs, forming the backbone of public sector TVET institutions, under the Basic Skills Development Project from 2001 to 2006. The validation report by ADB's Independent Evaluation Department noted that the project was instrumental in skilling young labor market entrants to compete with expatriate labor. Areas for improvement identified include the need for course diversification, diploma courses, and institutionalized industry partnerships, which are included in this project. ADB technical assistance (TA) helped to develop the TVET Blueprint, which provides the vision for reforms and targets in the TVET sector. The government asked ADB to support its implementation.
Value added by ADB's assistance. ADB is well placed to build on past collaborations in TVET and school education. ADB's value addition will be to (i) help elevate standards in TTIs; (ii) provide green technology equipment for the delivery of existing and new courses in the TTIs; (iii) assist the government in rebranding TVET courses to attract more youth and modernizing teaching and training pedagogy; (iv) strengthen private sector engagement in the delivery of courses that are in demand in the market; and (v) demonstrate good practices in integrating TVET and career guidance in school education. The grant supports the inclusive economic growth pillar of ADB's country partnership strategy, 20142018 and is fully aligned with the government's Twelfth Five-Year Plan. ADB support is crucial to augment the financial and technical capacity of the government to implement the TVET Blueprint. ADB will enable a knowledge sharing forum to bring together key agencies such as Helvetas, the World Bank, the government of Australia, and the Japan International Cooperation Agency to synergize support for TVET, labor market analysis, and capacity development.
Skilled human capital for equitable socioeconomic development increased
|Description of Outcome||
Employability of TVET graduates and secondary school graduates improved
|Progress Toward Outcome||COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the civil construction, supply of goods and delivery of trainings by private firms.|
|Description of Project Outputs||
Access to skills development increased
Quality and relevance of skills development enhanced
Vocational orientation of secondary school students improved
Governance and institutional capacity for TVET improved
|Status of Implementation Progress (Outputs, Activities, and Issues)||
Discussions on the reports of the courses developed through TA under progress for full curriculum development.
TTI-Samthang infrastructure expansion under progress(70% completed)
TTI-Thimphu contract agreement signed and 13% of work completed. PMU has procured two training vehicles at TTI Thimphu, Samthang and Rangjung for better hands-on training. G-01 contracts are signed, the new laboratory equipment and IT equipment are in the delivering stage to all respective 5 TTIs for better infrastructure facilities.G-03- procurement of automobile lab equipment for TTI (Thimphu, Rangjung and Samthang) contract awarded.
G-01 packages delivery Completed. EV training vehicles procured.
Health and safety standards be included in all trainings in TTI and TVET premier schools.
Procurement of equipment under process. Implementation of teaching and learning through use of multi-media materials is discussed with international experts recruited under ADB technical assistance.
Various online course through Udemy for Government, Coursera, Labtech are undergoing
Trainers/Instructors capacity building programs as planned could not happen due to COVID travel restrictions. However, online trainings on labtech and Udmey were facilitated through the ADB TA support. 104 instructors participated in these online trainings. Instructors expressed that it is not as effective as face to face training.
483 youths trained till date through partnership with private training providers and Royal Institute of Tourism and Hospitality. Critical Skills Training for 11 courses through private training providers started from December 2019. Critical skills training for persons with disabilities completed for 45 trainees.
348 students enrolled in TVE (classes IX and X) -142 female and 206 male. However, training could not commence due to delays in workshop construction, procurement of equipment and with COVID19. Theoretical classes started after lockdown in September 2021.
Vocational Clubs and PVOP guidelines developed in consultation with the school teachers & club coordinators.
13 junior instructors are recruited and trained in pedagogy and completed industrial attachment. They are placed in the 7 TVET premier school to start implementing the TVET electives (9 trades).
Workshop construction is completed.
MOE started TVET elective course at 7 TVET Premier Schools in 2020. The number of students at first batch intake (current grade 10 students) is 164 (including 55 females) and second batch intake (current grade 9 students) is 197 (87 females). It is on-track to exceed 400 target student beneficiaries by 2023. However, while workshop construction for hands-on training (W-04 to W-07) was completed in all TVET Premier Schools, procurement of goods and equipment (G-05 packages) was delayed because of the COVID-19 lockdowns. However, contract signing of G-05 is completed.
Work on career guidance is under progress with international experts advising the PIU. The Centre for Employment Initiatives in UK (CS-10b) finished producing revised career guidance materials and conducted virtual training for master trainers. MOE will train career counsellors and career guidance support using revised materials will start from August 2021 benefiting more than 90,000 middle and higher secondary school students (more than 50% female) every year so that 30,000 target students will be met by 2023. 110 councilors from 110 secondary schools trained in career guidance
Various online course through Udemy for Government, Coursera, Labtech are undergoing. 175 desktop computers supplied and installed in all 7 TVE schools through G-01 package.
On 29 June 2021, MOLHR signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with ITE Educational Service (ITEES) in Singapore to support advanced automobile repair course (diploma) at TTI Thimphu and facility technology course (diploma) at TTI Khuruthang. ITEES will support new curriculum development while ADB will support procurement of goods and equipment to implement new curriculum. ADB also took note that Humber College in Canada was interested in partnering with TTI Rangjung and TAFE in Australia interested in partnering with TTI Chumey.
Selected IT firm is working on system development. Out of the two phases, the IT firm has completed the first phase of TVET MIS. The second phase has also started with the series of consultation to finalize the software requirement specification (SRS). The firm will then bring necessary improvements in Labor market information system (LMIS, MIS, Job portal, labor net)
|Summary of Environmental and Social Aspects|
|Environmental Aspects||Requisite due diligence will help to put in place mitigating measures with regard to social and environmental safeguards, while also contributing to the growth of the economy.|
|Involuntary Resettlement||The project entails no land acquisition or resettlement. Improvements to buildings and facilities will take place within existing campus/premises. Hence social safeguards is categorized as C.|
|Indigenous Peoples||Bhutan does not have any officially defined Indigenous peoples'. The project's inclusive lens will ensure that poor and vulnerable students from different parts of the country will have access to skills development and training. Hence IP categorization is C.|
|Stakeholder Communication, Participation, and Consultation|
|During Project Design||The main stakeholders who participated in the design and implementation of the project included the Ministry of Labor and Human Resources and Ministry of Education and various entities of the government engaged in TVET and Education policy and strategy and implementation. The private sector - industry and employers - are crucial stakeholders who will contribute to making the TVET system more responsive and credible to the market. Extensive consultation and stakeholder workshops have been held for the preparation of the TVET Blueprint. A consultative approach will be continued during project design and implementation. There are no negatively affected people expected under the project. The project will incorporate affirmative action for the benefit of girls, women and the disadvantaged. Consultations with CSOs and their partnership during implementation will be facilitated.|
|During Project Implementation||Consultations with key stakeholders are undertaken. Example: Discussion with Royal Education Council (integration of ICT with TVET related subjects), TTI Thimphu, TTI Rangjung and TTI Thimphu on development of new courses. Discussions with Baylling Central School and Rangjung Central School.|
|Consulting Services||An estimated 172 person-months (32 international and 140 national) of consulting services will be required to (i) facilitate project management and implementation, (ii) strengthen the institutional and operational capacity of the executing agencies and select implementing agencies, (iii) development of web-based MIS and employment portal, and (iv) conduct monitoring and evaluation studies.|
|Procurement||Procurement (including consulting services) will follow ADB Procurement Policy (2017, as amended from time to time); and Procurement Regulations for ADB Borrowers (2017, as amended from time to time). Open Competitive Bidding (International Advertising) procedures will be used for any civil works contract estimated to cost more than $3 million, and any goods contract estimated to cost more than $1 million. Open Competitive Bidding (National Advertising) procedures may be used for any civil works contract estimated to cost $3 million or less and any goods contract estimated to cost $1 million or less. Request for quotations may be used for any civil works or goods contract estimated to cost below $100,000.|
|Responsible ADB Officer||Tshering, Nidup|
|Responsible ADB Department||South Asia Department|
|Responsible ADB Division||BHRM|
Department of Macroeconomic Affairs, Ministry of Finance
Ministry of Education
Ministry of Education & Skills Development
Ministry of Labour and Human Resources
|Concept Clearance||07 Dec 2017|
|Fact Finding||11 Apr 2018 to 20 Apr 2018|
|MRM||21 Jun 2018|
|Approval||30 Aug 2018|
|Last Review Mission||-|
|Last PDS Update||12 Dec 2022|
|Approval||Signing Date||Effectivity Date||Closing|
|30 Aug 2018||29 Nov 2018||11 Jan 2019||30 Apr 2024||-||-|
|Financing Plan||Grant Utilization|
|Total (Amount in US$ million)||Date||ADB||Others||Net Percentage|
|Project Cost||18.00||Cumulative Contract Awards|
|ADB||15.00||30 Mar 2023||11.32||0.00||75%|
|Cofinancing||0.00||30 Mar 2023||10.94||0.00||73%|
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Evaluation Documents See also: Independent Evaluation
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Building Skills of Persons with Disabilities, Transforming LivesThe Global Disability Summit 2022 promotes development that leaves no one behind. ADB is helping PWDs in Bhutan build their skills and improve opportunities for gainful employment through the Skills Training and Education Pathways Upgradation Project.
ADB Grant to Support Skills Development, TVET System in BhutanADB's Board of Directors has approved a $15 million grant to expand and upgrade the country’s TVET system to equip the local workforce with the necessary skills that meet the needs of the job market.
|Contract Title||Approval Number||Contract Date||Contractor | Address||Executing Agency||Total Contract Amount (US$)||Contract Amount Financed by ADB (US$)|
|CONSTRUCTION OF TECHNICAL TRAINING INSTITUTE THIMP HU SERBITHANG BABESA (W-02)||Grant 0596||27 Feb 2020||JV OF EW CONSTRUCTION PVT. LTD. & JM BUILDERS | THIMPHU BHUTAN||Ministry of Labour and Human Resources||1,208,726.80||—|
|CONSTRUCTION OF TECHNICAL TRAINING INSTITUTE THIMP HU SERBITHANG BABESA (W-01)||Grant 0596||27 Feb 2020||PENJOR CONSTRUCTION PVT. LTD | THIMPHU BHUTAN||Ministry of Labour and Human Resources||1,274,313.71||—|
|INTERNATIONAL EXPERT FOR CAREER GUIDANCE CONSULTAN T (PACKAGE CS-10B)||Grant 0596||10 Jan 2020||THE CENTRE FOR EMPLOYMENT INITIATIVES | BRIDGE STREET LLANGOLLEN UNITED KINGDOM||Ministry of Labour and Human Resources||124,346.95||—|
|STRENGTHENING OF MOLHR MIS CONSULTANT (PACKAGE CS- 08)||Grant 0596||21 Jan 2020||SONAX IT CONSULTANCY | THIMPHU BHUTAN||Ministry of Labour and Human Resources||211,449.78||—|
|DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION SUPERVISION FOR ESTABLISHMENT OF TTI THIMPU AND ADD'T INFRASTRUCTURE AT TT||Grant 0596||05 Apr 2019||UMAR MUNSHI ASSOCIATES JV PROGRESSIVE RCS | KARACHI PAKISTAN||Ministry of Labour and Human Resources||419,993.71||—|
|Title||Document Type||Document Date|
|Skills Training and Education Pathways Upgradation Project: Procurement Plan||Procurement Plans||Feb 2023|