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Bhutan: Basic Skills Development Project and Rural Skills Development Project - 2011

Project Result / Case Study | 2 October 2012

The objective of the Basic Skills Development Project (BSDP) was to improve the quality and relevance of the TVET system to ensure that training is provided in the basic skills required for employment in Bhutan.

Background

The objective of the Basic Skills Development Project (BSDP) was to improve the quality and relevance of the TVET system to ensure that training is provided in the basic skills required for employment. Further, this training was to target new graduates, unemployed youths, domestic laborers, and residents of rural areas, women and the poor in particular. Due to upgrading of the country’s infrastructure, skills training and facilities could be offered in rural communities. This made it possible to improve the skills of those who previously lacked access to such training, women in particular.

To achieve this objective, the aims of the BSDP were:

  1. to strengthen the institutional capacity for policy making, planning, and coordination within the
  2. TVET system, as well as in delivering basic skills training relevant to market demand and commensurate with the capacity of beneficiaries;
  3. to increase access to basicskills training by expanding the TVET system to include community-based programs, rehabilitating existing facilities, and establishing new ones;
  4. to improve the quality of basic skills training by strengthening links with the private sector; and
  5. to promote the use of basic skills by providing employment placement services.

Key points

Development aims and impacts:

  • Rising unemployment, particularly in the urban areas and among educated youth, remains a key concern of the Government of Bhutan. Part of the reason for this phenomenon is a mismatch between labor supply and demand, which the project aimed to address.
  • Technical and vocational education training (TVET) is increasingly required to meet the labor requirements of Bhutan’s market-oriented private sector. In this regard, it is important to allow women to become competitive in the labor market, and to earn income along with men.
  • Mainly because of demand by industrial employers, Bhutanese males dominate TVET enrolment, especially in construction and engineering. However, this outcome is also due to the fact that females prefer not to engage in physically challenging blue-collar jobs. Thus, after graduation, many women decide not to work in the sectors in which they have received training.
  • Discrimination against women in TVET programs occurs both in access to, and benefits from, such programs. This discrimination is often subtle, as most employers in traditionally male-dominated trades prefer to hire male rather than female graduates.
  • While it is important for TVET programs to meet market demand, it is also important that such programs take into account gender differences in interest and readiness to participate in such programs. Balancing these two goals requires expanding the choice of trades offered.

ADB processes and management tools:

  • Rural skills training and an equitable TVET promotion policy were integrated into all project components, as well as all covenants with the executing agency.
  • Moving toward more gender-equitable participation in skills training in rural areas requires a gender-equitable access policy. Examples of such a policy include separate toilets for men and women in gewog (village cluster) training centers and Vocational Training Institutes (VTIs), more flexible training delivery modes, more convenient training locations for women and girls, training courses more attractive to female students, and gender sensitization of training staff.

This case study is part of the ADB publication Gender Equality Results Case Studies: Bhutan that provide an overview of gender issues in selected sectors of developing member countries.