Technical educationAcademic courses should be based on the needs, interests and demands of the students
Technical Education and Vocational Training (TEVT) is one of the most important education systems for employment generation. With vocational and soft skills, people can enhance their competency, thereby increasing their chances of securing a job. TEVT contributes in generating gainful employment, encouraging self-employment and entrepreneurship and better earning—ultimately lifting people’s living standard and enhancing a country’s socio-economic development. So the main aspect of this training is to produce world-class technicians and skilful workers who can compete in the international job market.
Although TEVT has existed in the country for a long time, it took a better shape after the establishment of the Council of Technical Education and Vocational Training (CTEVT) in 1989. The CTEVT was established under the CTEVT Act 1989 with the aim of strengthening vocational technical education in Nepal. It is responsible for preparing skilled workforce required in the job market. Major functions of the CTEVT include policy and programme formulation, coordination and facilitation, quality control, and programme implementation.
Many technical and vocational
schools and training centres have been established all over the country. In order to introduce TEVT in government schools, the Ministry of Education and the CTEVT have introduced technical education in 99 schools so far. In 2072, 83 schools got affiliation to conduct 10+2 level in the TEVT stream from the Higher Secondary Education Board and seven schools have got affiliation to conduct a diploma programme.
As per the TEVT Policy 2012, the CTEVT has prepared different courses to produce skilful manpower and encourage self-entrepreneurship. In 2015, the Ministry of Education decided to hand over the authority to the Higher Secondary Education Board to run classes of higher education so that SLC students under the technical category can benefit. This aims to provide access to TEVT to all the youths within the country at a cheaper rate than that of the CTEVT institutions.
The major challenge for the TEVT-providing institutions in Nepal is the absence of a clear strategy on scope and modality of TEVT in higher education. Another challenge is the dearth of quality monitoring of the institutions. Even the required infrastructure for these institutions is not available, while learning materials and resources for the students are not adequate. The process of staff selection and working capacity has also failed to fulfil the students’ demands. Staff retention has been a significant challenge due to the lack of qualified and competent teachers and unavailability of permanent positions. Temporary staff are leaving the schools within a few months as they get neither adequate salary nor satisfying opportunities. Moreover, not all eligible students can afford the fees of technical education.
The way ahead
TEVT has a great scope in the context of developing countries like Nepal. With a slight change in perception, resources and environment, it could help develop skilful workers. However, there are several gaps between the TVET Policy 2012 and its implementation. The Asian Development Bank has also highlighted some of its provisions that need to be improved. It says that implementing the TVET Policy 2012 by incorporating clear national TEVT goals, priorities, qualifications framework, directives, detailed action plan, and horizontal and vertical linkages or pathways between different streams of education and training is necessary. Academic courses should be based on the needs, interests and demands of the students.
The model of Public Private Partnership (PPP) should be introduced to meet the market demand for the graduates of technical higher education. So the development of effective evaluation, monitoring and supervision mechanisms and strong implementation are required. A certain proportion of the budget allocated to education should be provided to the TEVT sector. Necessary resources, materials and a conducive environment should be provided to the technical schools; staff should be given appropriate incentives.
The international job market demands standard of global quality and ethics. This can only be fulfilled by technical education, an appropriate education programme for employable workforce production in the national as well as international arena. But there are still several constraints and issues to be resolved in the case of Nepal for technical education to flourish. There have been delays in decision-making for conducting technical education programme in Higher Secondary Schools. This has created confusion in students and parents. Lack of coordination between various line organisations and issues related to teacher retention are also important matters that need an urgent solution. Concerned authorities need to give time and higher priority to resolving these issues.
Devkota, Bagale and Basnet are associated with Sustainable Development and Empowerment Forum, Kathmandu