KATHMANDU, March 6: Discrepancy between general education and vocational training in Nepal is likely to remain for at least a decade as the government is yet to adopt a system to reduce disparity between the two types of education.
Developed countries have been practicing quality assessment to bridge the gap between general education and vocational education since the last four decades while 150 countries across the world are in the process to adopt this practice.
As per this practice, the students of vocational education are given certificate equivalent to general education and vice versa on the basis of their quality and skills.
“They can shift their study and employment from one field to another following competency and skill tests,” said Dr Ram Hari Lamichhane, director general at Colombo Plan Staff College of Manila, the Philippines. “However, we are yet to develop this system in Nepal,” he added.
In Nepal, an estimated 500,000 youths enter the labor market every year. Due to lack of quality assessment framework in the country, they either remain unemployed or get employed without proper recognition of their skills and knowledge.
The Swiss government had provided 10 million Swiss francs to the government of Nepal in 2015 for a 10-year - Nepal Vocational Qualification System (NVQS) Project - with a view to adopt the new system.
However, the government is yet to develop National Qualification Assessment Act, which is mandatory to implement the project.
Prof Dr Pramod Shrestha said, “The execution of the project is impossible without the Act. But the government is yet to work on this issue.”
The government is not so much interested in the project, said Prof Dr Mana Prasad Wagle. “I am ready to volunteer to help the government develop the framework of the quality assessment system,” he said.
“We prepared a draft of quality assessment for both general and vocational education. But the ministry is not ready to hold a meeting in this regard,” Prof Wagle claimed. “There is always confusion in qualification and skills due to lack of testing system for formal, non-formal, vocational and skill-oriented education.”
The Ministry of Education (MoE) has claimed that it has been working to prepare the draft in course of implementation of the project. “It is a 10-year project. We are working on the preliminary draft,” said Dr Hari Prasad Lamsal, spokesman at the MoE. “The first phase of the draft will be finalized in about a month,” he added.
In line with developing concepts of qualification assessment, the Council for Technical Education and Vocational Training (CTEVT), NVQS Project and Colombo Plan Staff College are jointly organizing an international seminar on 'Sharing and Learning on National Vocational Qualifications System' from March 6-7 in Nepal. Representatives from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Fiji, India, Malaysia, the Maldives, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and South Korea will be participating in the seminar, said Devi Prasad Dahal, team leader of NVQS Project. “Additionally, participants from Switzerland, Australia and Scotland will also take part in the program.”