By Er. Pradip Kumar Paudyal 

Prof. Er. Pradip Paudyal

Introduction

The importance of mid-level technical human resource for the development of nation by increasing employability and productivity of the population regardless the gender, religion or age group can be realized by any conscious individual. Skill is the global currency. The objective of this article is to highlight historical background of the development of technical education and vocational training and the efforts made by government for the promotion of TVET in Nepal.

This paper is concentrated on the engineering field, especially diploma programs. The past and present institutions which offered or are offering diploma in engineering programs are also described in brief.   

It also discusses the policies of the Nepal government related to TVET,  Historical development of the policies and the gaps in the policies with special reference to diploma level engineering education as well as the impact of policies in quality of education and job market etc.

Introduction to TVET

The term TVET reads as Technical and Vocational Education and Training. It is considered as vital means of facilitating poverty reduction and maximization of social and economic benefits. It also helps to improve overall livelihoods and lives, particularly for poor and disadvantaged youth and women.

Second International congress of The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), held in 1999 AD in Seoul, Korea, concerning Technical and Vocational Education gave birth the term TVET. It is an international term. Concurrently it is also written as TEVT (Technical Education and Vocational Training).

TVET in Nepal

The history of vocational education and training in Nepal is not new. Indigenous arts and crafts have been the identity of Nepalese society. Even in Lichhibi period, the production and sale of handicraft, sculptural and architectural items were found. During that period, vocational training were learned and taught in apprentice model and such skills were regarded as traditional skills (TEVT: A Glimpse 2073). Some development on traditional skill can also be found in Malla Period.  Vocational education was very much popular in Kathmandu valley during Malla period as a tool to increase revenue. There was a special degree for citizens to learn some kind of skills and involve in production and business. Malla period was famous for handicraft. It was the golden period for all types of architectures (www.ioe.edu.np/history). In Rana and Shah Period, the crafts men from Britain were called in and they trained some Nepali people in civil construction field including carpentry (TVET Policy-2069). Having cast system in Nepal, the vocation and training of particular skill was related to specific cast. But the scenario is changing rapidly.

Vocational education and training were conducted since 1929 by department of Labor and Department of Small and Cottage Industry to cater the need of then society and industries. These training programs were unorganized and in scattered form. Though there were few vocational training centers on operation, the Nepal Government’s first effort to integrate technical education was the establishment of Nepal National Education Planning Commission (NNEPC), also known as National Education Commission (NEC) on April 1954. This commission initiated the concept of Multi-purpose school (Bhandari- TEVT Development Journal Vol.13). The major purposes of these schools were to provide practical and technical orientated courses in the school. Some development in this field can be seen by the establishment of vocational schools. Later in 1970s, the Government introduced a National Education System Plan (NESP).  The priority of NESP was the promotion of vocational education to make it accessible to majority of youths. Though, NESP was silently withdrawn. In 1982 a national level Technical and Vocational Education Committee (TEVC) and the Directorate of Technical and Vocational Education (DTVE) under the MOE were established for the purpose of formulating policies, and implementing and managing the technical school system. This committee functioned for few years, but having realized the need of a strong body to form policy, strengthen, coordinate and develop TVET in Nepal, the Council for Technical Education and Vocational Training Act, 2045 (1989) established the Council for Technical Education and Vocational Training (CTEVT). This replaced the DTVE.

CTEVT is a national autonomous apex body of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) sector. It has the responsibility to produce semi skill and skillful human resource to cater the need of the Nation targeting poverty alleviation by raising the employability and productivity.

To implement the education policies and planning throughput the Nation, Department of Education under the Ministry of Education was formed in 2056 Jestha 9 (May 23, 1999).

Institute of Engineering (IOE) related development.

Formal technical education started in 1930 (1987/11/19 B.S.) after the establishment of technical school in Kumari Chowk, Kathmandu. At the beginning, this school began the trade course on textile skill. In 1942 (1998/10/17 B.S.), engineering section was introduced in the school offering two years sub-overseer course for SLC graduates. This school was shifted to Tri-chandra campus in 1945 (2001 BS) and renamed as engineering school in 1950 (2006 BS). It was in 1958 (2014) that this school was accepted as a formal institution to deliver engineering education and once again renamed as Nepal Engineering Institute and it was shifted to Nepal Administrative Training Council complex, Jawalakhel at the beginning. By the end of same year, it was taken to Ananda Niketan, Pulchowk. It offered overseer course in civil engineering and later on in 1971 (2027) offered electrical overseer course (www.ioe.edu.np).

In 1963 AD (2019 BS), Technical Training Institute was established in Thapathali, Kathmandu under the assistance of German Government offering 3 years overseer course in mechanical engineering, Automobile Engineering and electrical engineering.

After the introduction of New Education System Plan in 1972 (2028 BS) in the country, Institute of Engineering (IOE) was formed under Tribhuvan University and both the Nepal Engineering Institute and Technical Training Institute were brought under Institute of Engineering. Nepal Engineering Institute was renamed as Pulchowk Campus and Technical Training Institute was renamed as Thapathali Campus.

Followed by the government policy of expanding engineering education, Purwanchal campus was established in 1976 (2032 BS) at Dharan in the eastern part of the country under the financial assistance of Asian Development Bank (ADB). The academic programs were begun from 1984 (2040 BS) with the technical assistance of overseas development assistance (ODA), an organ of British government. Initially, trade courses (2.5 yrs.) on Mechanical, Fabrication, Refrigeration and Air-conditioning, Electrical, Carpentry, Brickwork, Automobile and Plumbing were offered in the campus. Three year’s Diploma program on Civil engineering and Mechanical Engineering started from 2048 BS (1992) and Diploma in Refrigeration and Air-conditioning Engineering program was shifted from Pulchowk Campus to this campus in 2052 B.S. (1995 AD). Purbanchal Campus introduced Bachelor level course in Agriculture Engineering in 2000 (2056 BS) and currently there are only bachelor level courses in operation.

This campus was also conducted under Council for Technical Education & Vocational Training (CTEVT) since 2045 B.S. by the mandate of Government of Nepal and later again came back under IOE/ TU since 2047 B.S.

Similarly, Paschimanchal Campus was established in 1981(2038 BS) at Pokhara in the western region of Nepal under the financial assistance of World Bank and technical assistance of UNDP/ILO. This campus was brought into operation from 1987 (2043 BS). This campus was also operated under Institute of Engineering, TU. Initially, trade course (2.5 yrs,) on Mechanical, Carpentry, Bricklaying, Plumbing, Automobile, Electrical, were offered. From 2044 BS, Diploma programs were introduced in this college.

Up to 2030 BS (1974 AD), the diploma courses had 3 years duration but from 2031 BS, all the diploma courses were confined to two years. From 2043 BS, again these courses were brought to 3 years duration.

Currently, there is no any diploma course under Institute of Engineering (IoE). By 2069 BS (2013AD), all the diploma programs had been phased out from IoE.

CTEVT Related Diploma Programs

Since its establishment, CTEVT has received a mandate for developing national policies, coordinating TVET, ensuring quality, and developing, expanding and strengthening country’s TVET. Till 2069, CTEVT was the only authority to run the diploma programs. It not only runs the programs in its constituent institutes but gets operated by its affiliated institutions too. From 2058 BS (2002 AD), it started to give affiliation to private institutions so that large number of people can have easy reach to the technical subjects.

To impart the Vocational Training in a managed way, Mechanical Training Center in Balaju and Butwal Training Centre in Butwal were established in 1962 AD (2018 BS) with the help of Swiss Government. These were independently run by donor agency. After the establishment of CTEVT, it took over these institutions.

Following engineering courses in diploma level are in operation under CTEVT (TEVT Annual Report: 2017);

  1. Architecture
  2. Civil Engineering
  3. Computer Engineering
  4. Electrical Engineering
  5. Electronics Engineering
  6. Electrical/Electronics
  7. Mechanical Engineering
  8. Geomatics Engineering
  9. Automobile Engineering
  10. Biomedical Equipment Engineering
  11. Refrigeration and Air-conditioning Engineering

TVET policy of Nepal

Presently, Technical and Vocational Education and Training Policy, 2012 (2069) is effective in Nepal, which is the modification of Technical and Vocational Skill Development Policy 2064 (2007 AD). This document has set three objectives and has identified five key policy sectors such as expansion, inclusion and excess, integration, relevance and sustainable financing which are actually the needs of this sector (Khanal- TEVT Development Journal Vol.13). To fulfill the set objectives, it has also formulated strategies and also listed down the working policies in detail. This policy opened the door to operate Technical and Vocational Education in Schools too.

Vocational Education in School

On the basis of Technical and Vocational Education and Training Policy, 2012 (2069), the department of education started specific vocational subjects from class 9 up to 12 (4 years) and they must attend On-the-Job Training (OJT) for one year. Either they can go for OJT by part, i.e. 3 month in class 10, 3 month in class 11 and 6 month in class 12 or continuous 1 year after completion of class 12. It is also considered as diploma in that particular field.

From now on, there will be two different streams to acquire diploma level academic degree in technical and Vocational Subjects.

The enrollment for this short of program in the schools started from 2070 BS. Operation of Technical and Vocational Education in Schools Directives was released by First modification to TVET policy 2012 (2069) on 2071.02.20.  Due to lack of ample time to clarify the directives, no intake was taken in 2071 and 2072. From 2073 BS, it is again continued.

The subjects and number of student enrolled by intake year is shown here under;

Table 1: Number of schools given permission to run prescribed subjects.

Stream 2070 2073 2074 Community School Total
Plant Science 39 39 14 2 94
Animal Science 13 14 1 1 29
Civil Engineering 21 43 6 1 71
Computer Engineering 21 31 7 3 62
Electrical Engineering 5 14 6 2 27
Music Education —- —- —- 1 1
  99 141 34 9 284

Source: DoE, Technical Division.

The table above depicts that the first technical graduates from the school system are coming to the market by 2075.

Diploma Degrees (Academic and Professional)

Currently diploma degree can be acquired by three different streams i.e., Through CTEVT diploma programs, Through School system and through Nepal Skill Testing Board (NSTB) certification system. CTEVT system and Schools system delivers the academic qualification degree where as the NSTB certification is the professional degree.

To get the professional degree for diploma level, one must pass through Skill Test Level-3, conducted by NSTB. To appear in Level-3 skill test, minimum requirement is as follow;

– Literate with knowledge and skill in the relevant occupation with minimum of five years work experience in a relevant occupation/trade.

or

– Two years work experience after one year training in a relevant occupation/trade.

or

– One year work experience after skill level-2 certificate passed in relevant occupation/trade.

Anybody, who can meet any of above criteria, can apply for this professional degree. 

In a developed country, the professional certificate is highly regarded, but it is difficult to convince the equivalency of professional degree in the country like Nepal, where there is very few industries and lack of awareness regarding professional degree. NSTB has not limited this degree to diploma level or below, but is developing and even conducting higher level tests and awarding higher level professional certificates too.

In Nepal, recently from 1918 AD (2074 BS), Nepal Engineering Council (NEC) has also started awarding Professional Engineer (PE) certificate to those engineers who have completed Masters level course in relevant engineering subject and has 20 years of professional experience.

In CTEVT diploma course, Either School Exit Examination (SEE) pass at least with “C” grade in Math and Science and D+ in English or TSLC pass with minimum 68.66% students can join. For Technical School Leaving Examination (TSLE) course, which has 18 month duration (12 month vocational course and 6 month On-the-Job training), anybody, who has appeared in SEE examination can join.  This way, to join diploma course, SEE is not an iron gate. There is other way too, that is TSLC.

Quality and Diploma Education

Quality of TVET has become not only the interest of National need but has become the concern to global market. Nepal being the member of World Trade Organization (WTO), the technicians produced within the nation should also have the capability to compete with the technicians produced in any other countries. Academic program and process must be standard enough so that competent human resource could be guaranteed. Till date, we are more concerned towards the quantity but now it is going to be late if not started debating on the quality. The Technical and Vocational Education and Training Policy, 2012 (2069) is also concentrated on expansion, inclusion and excess, integration, relevance and sustainable financing. Quality and competence have still been on shadow.

It is sometimes difficult to describe the term Quality. It may have many attributes but sometimes it is used as relative term. To compare, there must be a bench mark which should be compared with. As far the diploma level course is concerned, CTEVT has long experience in such courses but it has not been able to develop benchmark institution yet. The internal and external political unionism has also been the great barrier in quality assurance.  

In the higher education, University Grant Commission (UGC) has started Quality Assurance Accreditation (QAA) system and till date, it has already issued QAA certificate to 3 technical institutions and 16 other community colleges. But in lower level, such as in diploma level, no such system has been developed. If this system is developed and implemented, it will certainly contribute in improvement in quality so far.

The quality of diploma certificate holders is always being questionable. There is no provision of On-the-Job Training (OJT) in CTEVT diploma course whereas one year OJT is compulsory in school system. The diploma students from school system are yet to come in the market. From the coming year only, the market will have opportunity to compare the quality between these two different academic diploma products.

Issues regarding TEVT in Nepal

Currently there is at least a policy to guide TEVT in Nepal. In Nepalese context, policies, strategies and systems are well written in the documents but lacks in their implementation. The Nation has recently interred into the federal system. The education is going to be under the control of local government. A massive awareness and training program to the local authorities is important regarding the technical education and quality assurance. Up to 1969 BS, CTEVT was the apex body for TVET but onwards then, in parallel, the school system also interred into diploma program. Now, it is time to establish an independent body having full authority for quality assurance.

Any academic institution is responsible to enhance Knowledge, Skill and Attitude (KSA) of the graduates.  Apart from KSA, experience also plays vital role in professional sector. So that curricula of CTEVT diploma program should also address OJT as far as possible.

Conclusions

Lack of proper policy and strategic plan regarding TVET is seen in the beginning. The programs were donor driven. Even the Institute of Engineering, Tribhuban University (TU) had to run the trade level courses due to absence of proper TVET authority. Though it took shape after the establishment of CTEVT. All of the diploma programs, which were phased out by IOE have been recovered by CTEVT. Overseers (Junior Engineers) from school system are coming in the market in near future. There is provision of one engineer and two junior engineer to run a specific engineering program in the school. A single engineer may not be expert in all the subjects related to that course, so that quality of school system technical product may be questionable. Let’s see how the graduates from CTEVT system and School system will be compared by the market.

Recommendations

The need of engineering Human Resources in the developing country like Nepal need not to be overemphasized. The institutions are concentrated in the urban areas. To bring the TEVT policy-2012 in real application, number of Engineering Institutions required in each state should be calculated and established on the basis of population density of that state. The state should also carry out the need assessment of the market and develop the syllabus and implement the courses on required fields. Special emphasis must be given on their state requirement.

All the political parties seem committed for economic development and mass transportation. The development of railway is included in the manifesto of most of the political parties. Regarding the Railway, deem light is being sensed by the society. In this context, diploma in Railway Engineering may be a good course to be implemented in the near future. Let’s start developing the curriculum. 

The politics should also be phased out completely from academic institutions. But before that, a strong monitoring system and quality assurance system must be developed. For this, strong political commitment is required. Let’s start bringing this issue into dialogue.

QAA system must be implemented for the diploma courses too. An authority should be identified in each state for quality assurance.

References

Principal of Acme Engineering College, Kathmandu, Nepal, Professor Er. Pradip Kumar Paudyal can be reached at pradip.paudyal@acme.edu.np

Source: Proceeding of 18th International Convention of Diploma Engineer’s Association Nepal (DEAN)-2018

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