QUT’s Faculty of Education hosted a special delegation of Bhutan’s leading educators and policy makers in October. The delegation was at QUT to undertake an Australia Awards Fellowship funded by the Australia Government that will help strengthen TVET (Technical and Vocational Education and Training) education programs in secondary schools.
Led by QUT’s Faculty of Education in partnership with Bhutan’s Royal Education Council, the Fellowship was designed to strengthen educational offerings in Bhutan, where there is a growing demand for vocational and technical skills.
Dr. Shaun Nykvist, the Fellowship’s lead facilitator at QUT, said that it will directly support Bhutan’s development of a TVET curriculum, policy and implementation, and capacity building strategies.
“There is a widening skills gap in Bhutan, and the Royal Education Council is undertaking major education reform to help address this,” said Dr. Nykvist.
“They are particularly focussed on providing students with multiple educational pathways, including TVET opportunities.”
“Our three-week Fellowship was designed to empower Bhutan’s education and policy leaders with the capacity and knowledge to contribute to the ongoing demands for education reform.”
“The fellows will ultimately contribute to the development of a more highly-skilled workforce which will meet Bhutan’s economic and social needs.”
Bhutan’s Director of the Royal Education Council, Kinga Dakpa, said visiting Brisbane schools where there was a strong emphasis on TVET training was insightful and inspiring.
“I was struck by the resources the children had to engage with, and the opportunity they had to learn about trades and how local industries and businesses were involved,” said Mr Dakpa.
“There is a skills gap in Bhutan and our school system is changing to help fill it.”
“Bhutan needs investment in trade – we are mostly focussing on construction, carpentry, masonry, and electrical trades. But we also want to strengthen areas such as hospitality and tourism.”
Kinga Dakpa said that Bhutan’s celebrated Gross National Happiness, an index used to measure the country’s progress, was a core value in their education reform.
“The Gross National Happiness underpins and infuses the values throughout the school system”.
The Australia Awards Fellowship ran for three weeks from 1–21 October at QUT. Administered by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Fellowship was led by QUT’s Faculty of Education in partnership with the Bhutan Royal Education Council.
For more information, contact Dr. Shaun Nykvist, QUT Faculty of Education at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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