Bhutan : Pathways for Emerging Skills and Jobs Project

Sovereign Project | 54464-001

The project aims to increase the employability of youth in Bhutan and help the government reduce youth unemployment, which has risen because of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic followed by the economic downturn. It will support the institutional capacity of the Ministry of Education and Skills Development (MESD) to implement its strategic plan for transforming the technical and vocational education and training (TVET) system. The project will help expand the breadth and depth of TVET courses for youth, especially job seekers, women, and people with disability, considering industry demands, youth aspirations, and emerging job opportunities. The teacher training and work-based training will also be supported to improve the quality and relevance of training. Further, aesthetically appealing, and green infrastructure in selected TVET institutions will be developed to increase TVET enrollment capacities and attract more youth to participate in TVET.

Project Details

Related Projects

Project Name Pathways for Emerging Skills and Jobs Project
Project Number 54464-001
Country / Economy Bhutan
Project Status Active
Project Type / Modality of Assistance Grant
Loan
Source of Funding / Amount
Grant 9236-BHU: Pathways for Emerging Skills and Jobs Project
Japan Fund for Prosperous and Resilient Asia and the Pacific US$ 2.00 million
Grant: Pathways for Emerging Skills and Jobs Project
Government of Canada US$ 3.53 million
Loan 4340-BHU: Pathways for Emerging Skills and Jobs Project
Concessional ordinary capital resources lending US$ 30.00 million
Operational Priorities OP1: Addressing remaining poverty and reducing inequalities
OP2: Accelerating progress in gender equality
OP3: Tackling climate change, building climate and disaster resilience, and enhancing environmental sustainability
OP5: Promoting rural development and food security
OP6: Strengthening governance and institutional capacity
OP7: Fostering regional cooperation and integration
Sector / Subsector

Education / Technical and vocational education and training

Gender Gender equity theme
Description The project aims to increase the employability of youth in Bhutan and help the government reduce youth unemployment, which has risen because of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic followed by the economic downturn. It will support the institutional capacity of the Ministry of Education and Skills Development (MESD) to implement its strategic plan for transforming the technical and vocational education and training (TVET) system. The project will help expand the breadth and depth of TVET courses for youth, especially job seekers, women, and people with disability, considering industry demands, youth aspirations, and emerging job opportunities. The teacher training and work-based training will also be supported to improve the quality and relevance of training. Further, aesthetically appealing, and green infrastructure in selected TVET institutions will be developed to increase TVET enrollment capacities and attract more youth to participate in TVET.
Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy

Bhutan is a small landlocked and mountainous country with a narrow economic base. Despite these challenges, the country achieved annual average gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 5.9% during the Eleventh Five Year Plan, 2013-2018. However, GDP contracted by 10.0% in 2020, followed by modest GDP growth recovery of 4.1% in 2021 and 4.7% in 2022, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, as prolonged community quarantines and travel restrictions disrupted the economy. The unemployment rate was 2.7% (men: 2.2%, women: 3.3%) in 2019 but increased to 5.9% (men: 4.4%, women: 7.9%) in 2022 because of mismatches in job seekers and aspirations, qualifications, and experience, and available jobs in the market, which were amplified by COVID-19 disruptions. This is particularly pronounced for youth, and the youth unemployment rate (aged 15-24 years) worsened to a record high of 28.6% in 2022, more than double the rate of 11.9% in 2019. Youth unemployment among women reached an alarming 32.8%, compared with 24.4% among men, in 2022. In addition, out of a population of about 763,000 in Bhutan, more than 30,000 live abroad and the number of Bhutanese going abroad has been increasing since 2022 because of economic uncertainties and limited education opportunities.

Need for economic diversification. Bhutan's economy has been vulnerable to external shocks. Economic growth is driven by tourism and hydropower. Tourism was the hardest hit industry during the pandemic. While hydropower provided stable revenues even during the pandemic, the sector does not create large numbers of jobs after hydropower construction is completed. The agriculture sector accounted for 43.5% of employment in 2022, but its share has been declining. Promoting private sector development is crucial for economic diversification in manufacturing and services, but the private sector is weak in Bhutan because of a small domestic market and limited access to foreign markets, finance, internet, and connectivity. The private sector also faces hiring challenges because of job applicants' lack of required technical skills, work experience, and qualifications. In addition, few employers can allocate resources for employee training while continuous professional development of employees is important to improve productivity and technology adoption.

Impact

Productive and gainful employment created (Twelfth Five Year Plan, 2018-2023)

Project Outcome
Description of Outcome

Employability of skilled youth increased

Progress Toward Outcome
Implementation Progress
Description of Project Outputs

Digital and physical access to skills development increased

Quality of skills training enhanced

Industry partnerships and private sector engagement in TVET promoted

TVET image and institutional capacity strengthened

Status of Implementation Progress (Outputs, Activities, and Issues)
Geographical Location Nation-wide
Safeguard Categories
Environment B
Involuntary Resettlement C
Indigenous Peoples C
Summary of Environmental and Social Aspects
Environmental Aspects Given the civil works for construction and upgradation of the TTIs, the project is categorized B for environmental safeguards according to ADB Safeguard Policy Statement 2009. Potential impacts are mainly associated with construction of new buildings for selected TTIs and the Rural Development Training Center (RDTC) with increased noise and dust levels, waste generation, traffic congestion and on-site occupational health and safety issues. These impacts are minor, temporary, localized and of short-term as outlined in the environment management plan and can be mitigated through the environmental management plan (EMP), environmental monitoring plan, and compliance with relevant government regulations.
Involuntary Resettlement The project entails no land acquisition, resettlement, or any physical and economic displacement because the project will support only minor works within existing campuses owned by the government. Due diligence review confirmed that no informal settlers reside on the project site. With no planned land acquisition, the project is unlikely to trigger Safeguard Policy Statement requirements for involuntary resettlement.
Indigenous Peoples The project does not affect any indigenous peoples and their dignity, human rights, livelihood systems, or their culture and territories. Bhutan has no officially defined 'indigenous people', and there are no groups in Bhutan which can be said to be 'indigenous people' and vulnerable or disadvantaged because of their identity and ethnicity.
Stakeholder Communication, Participation, and Consultation
During Project Design The proposed project provides digital and physical access to training for poor and disadvantaged groups through output 1. Via the JFPR grant, inclusive education and skills development training programs will be implemented by engaging relevant CSOs, private training providers, SEN schools, and other specialized institutions to deliver dedicated training programs for people with disability. Social misconceptions will also be addressed through output 4 to improve the image of TVET by conducting awareness-raising campaigns in urban and rural areas.
During Project Implementation Approaches of CSO participation envisaged during project implementation. In addition, the project will forge national and international partnerships with training providers and organizations of persons with disabilities to deliver new courses for people with disability; and CSOs will be special invitees on the project steering committee.
Business Opportunities
Consulting Services An estimated 720 person-months of consulting services will be required to (i) facilitate project management and implementation; (ii) strengthen the institutional and operational capacity of the executing and implementing agencies and project implementation units; (iii) develop disaster management plan for schools; and (iv) undertake monitoring, evaluation, and research studies (e.g., tracer studies, preparation for new project). The national consulting firms or civil society organizations will be engaged using the quality- and cost-based selection (QCBS) method with a standard qualitycost ratio of 80:20 or consultant qualification selection (CQS) method.
Procurement Procurement of goods, works, consulting services, and nonconsulting services will follow the ADB Procurement Policy (2017, as amended from time to time) and the Procurement Regulations for ADB Borrowers (2017, as amended from time to time).
Responsible ADB Officer Norbu, Tshewang
Responsible ADB Department Sectors Group
Responsible ADB Division Human and Social Development Sector Office (SG-HSD)
Executing Agencies
Ministry of Education and Skills Development
Timetable
Concept Clearance 21 Feb 2022
Fact Finding 01 Mar 2023 to 14 Mar 2023
MRM 06 Jun 2023
Approval 29 Aug 2023
Last Review Mission -
Last PDS Update 01 Sep 2023

Grant 9236-BHU

Milestones
Approval Signing Date Effectivity Date Closing
Original Revised Actual
29 Aug 2023 12 Oct 2023 13 Nov 2023 28 Feb 2029 - -
Financing Plan Grant Utilization
Total (Amount in US$ million) Date ADB Others Net Percentage
Project Cost 2.00 Cumulative Contract Awards
ADB 0.00 08 Feb 2024 0.00 0.02 1%
Counterpart 0.00 Cumulative Disbursements
Cofinancing 2.00 08 Feb 2024 0.00 0.20 10%
Status of Covenants
Category Sector Safeguards Social Financial Economic Others
Rating - Unsatisfactory - Unsatisfactory Partly satisfactory Unsatisfactory

Loan 4340-BHU

Milestones
Approval Signing Date Effectivity Date Closing
Original Revised Actual
29 Aug 2023 12 Oct 2023 13 Nov 2023 28 Feb 2029 - -
Financing Plan Loan Utilization
Total (Amount in US$ million) Date ADB Others Net Percentage
Project Cost 30.56 Cumulative Contract Awards
ADB 30.00 08 Feb 2024 0.00 0.00 0%
Counterpart 0.56 Cumulative Disbursements
Cofinancing 0.00 08 Feb 2024 0.00 0.00 0%
Status of Covenants
Category Sector Safeguards Social Financial Economic Others
Rating - Partly satisfactory - Unsatisfactory Satisfactory Unsatisfactory

Project Data Sheets (PDS) contain summary information on the project or program. Because the PDS is a work in progress, some information may not be included in its initial version but will be added as it becomes available. Information about proposed projects is tentative and indicative.

The Access to Information Policy (AIP) recognizes that transparency and accountability are essential to development effectiveness. It establishes the disclosure requirements for documents and information ADB produces or requires to be produced.

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In preparing any country program or strategy, financing any project, or by making any designation of, or reference to, a particular territory or geographic area in this document, the Asian Development Bank does not intend to make any judgments as to the legal or other status of any territory or area.


Safeguard Documents See also: Safeguards
Safeguard documents provided at the time of project/facility approval may also be found in the list of linked documents provided with the Report and Recommendation of the President.

Title Document Type Document Date
Pathways for Emerging Skills and Jobs Project: Updated Initial Environmental Examination Initial Environmental Examination Feb 2023
Pathways for Emerging Skills and Jobs Project: Initial Environmental Examination Initial Environmental Examination Feb 2023

Evaluation Documents See also: Independent Evaluation

None currently available.


Related Publications

None currently available.


The Access to Information Policy (AIP) establishes the disclosure requirements for documents and information ADB produces or requires to be produced in its operations to facilitate stakeholder participation in ADB's decision-making. For more information, refer to the Safeguard Policy Statement, Operations Manual F1, and Operations Manual L3.

Requests for information may also be directed to the InfoUnit.

Tenders

Tender Title Type Status Posting Date Deadline
Hiring of construction supervision firm for TTI-Chumey Firm - Consulting Active
L4340-BHU: Pathways for Emerging Skills and Jobs Project (PESJP) [DWPSD/PESJP/2023-2024/W-02] Invitation for Bids Closed
L4340-BHU: Pathways for Emerging Skills and Jobs Project (PESJP) [DWPSD/PESJP/2023-2024/W-01] Invitation for Bids Closed

Contracts Awarded

No contracts awarded for this project were found

Procurement Plan

Title Document Type Document Date
Pathways for Emerging Skills and Jobs Project: Procurement Plan Procurement Plans Mar 2023