Kathmandu: More than half million people enter the job market every year in Nepal. Worryingly, most of them- unskilled or low skilled- are bound to opt for foreign job for lack of adequate employment opportunities within the country while many unknowingly enter the informal sector and learn skills on their own.
However, it does not mean Nepal lacks proper institutes catering skills and knowledge to educate youths and supply technical human resources to the job market, thereby contributing to industrial and economic development in the country. It is reality at the same time that many youths are left out from such technical institutions, while the skilled ones too have failed to meet market demands.
The Council for Technical Education and Vocational Training (CTEVT) is such institution serving the country for long by producing skilled technical human resources who are involved in various sectors- some developed self-entrepreneurship while others got employed in industries ranging from agriculture, engineering, health, and tourism/hospitality. The CTEVT is the prime institution in Nepal to forward Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET). Although it falls under the scope of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, it is equally linked to other sectors – labour, employment and industries.
Currently, the CTEVT has spread its reach to 383 local levels with enrollment capacity of 83,289 persons every year. Similarly, it has produced 84,963 diploma graduates and 230,056 pre-diploma graduates while as many as 11,110 graduates have received equivalency certificates. This production of skilled and highly skilled human resources combined within the country is indeed a huge contribution to labour market and support to national economy.
The CTEVT Member-Secretary Pushpa Raman Wagle claims more than 75 per cent of the CTEVT graduates have been employed- self-employed, employed and foreign employed.
With such institution in the country on the one hand and lack of required skilled human resources in the market on the other, it is time to mull where the gap lies. Are CTEVT graduates inadequate in terms of quality to meet industrial needs? If so, why and how? Similarly, when does job divide in term of gender abate? At a time the education provided by CTEVT is appreciated for its link to skills and then skills to employment and employment to market, why youth entrepreneurship and contribution to productivity is not going on as per expectation and industries are still inadequate on human resources?
In this connection, the experts from various sectors including TVET, industry, economics, bank and financial institutions, have furnished recommendations to the government on how the TVET quality could be enhanced and CTEVT governance bolstered in view of the federal set up.
Government Secretary Gopinath Mainali shared that various 18 government bodies including ministries were providing skills-oriented training for capacity enhancement of the needy ones in Nepal. Huge amount of budget is spent annually on it. "Clarity on model of TVET governance is imperative with clear devolution of rights and authority to sub-national governments and legal reform," he pointed out.
At the event organized by CTEVT in the federal capital Kathmandu recently, Founder Chairperson of Nepal Knotcraft Centre, Shyam Badan Shrestha, suggested the CTEVT and private sectors to encourage indigenous technologies so that self-entrepreneurship would thrive. Shrestha argued mostly women had engaged in indigenous technology but for lack of investment on it, the original skills and technologies are fading. Sustainability of women's indigenous skills in remote area not only helps build entrepreneurship but also reduce gender divide in terms of employment and economy. These are important area where the institutions should focus now, Shrestha underscored.
Similarly, the suggestion from another expert Birendra Raj Pandey on successful reform approach to ensure TVET quality and outcomes are: strengthening of company involvement in VET, clear VET responsibilities, national VET standards, promotion of the labour-market perspectives of VET, increase in permeability between VET and higher education, implementation of skill forecasts. He was stressing the private sector's engagement on it.
In light of the federal set up in Nepal, experts on TVET from Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich, Ursula Renold, Katherine Caves, and Thomas Bolli, jointly write in a TVET journal published by CTEVT where they furnish five significant recommendations to Nepal: a) establishment of inter-governmental TVET Council/Coordination Committee, b)description of key TVET process in Master Plan, c) creation of a TVET Policy 2030, d) development of TVET Act as quickly as possible, and e) completion of the TVET financial flows analyses. The recommendations touch upon various emerging issues and challenges including quality TVET, institutional reform, long-term policy formulation, and governance as per changed context.
In view of the informal economy and higher share of employment in informal sector in Nepal, a researcher Durga Prasad Baral from Kathmandu University, School of Education, recommends awareness, attraction and acknowledgement of young informal skill learners, which he argues will contribute to materializing country's development efforts.
The recommendations above clearly indicate the need of reforms in Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) sector. Further relevance of CTEVT has been stressed equally. The CTEVT and TVET have gained further relevance at present because thousands of Nepali youths are now returning home for fear of Covid-19 from different countries including neighouring India. It is proper time to hone the skills of low-skilled ones and link them to job market and productivity. Building entrepreneurship with their skills helps thrive market and economy.
In addition to the recommendations furnished above, CTEVT should be aware of the growing job need within the country and hold discussion with all sides including industries, and provide training in collaboration so that home returnees would be retained within country.
In conclusion, timely clearance of hurdles at law and policy levels, priority to innovative technology, need assessment with thorough research before TEVT, independent monitoring of CTEVT programmes, CTEVT's robust link with industries and youths, strong collaboration with all three layers of governments, partnership with private sectors, alignment to national development goals and periodic plan, enhancement of quality to get international recognition are equally imperative so that TVET sector can contribute to employment generation, entrepreneurship and finally to the recovery of national economy. RSS