The Colombo Plan Staff College (CPSC), in partnership with the Ministry of Education and Skills Development (MoESD), Bhutan, conducted the In-Country Program on Embracing Digital Learning in TVET from May 8 to 12, 2023. The program was conducted in Thimphu, Bhutan, and was participated by twenty-six (26) Bhutanese TVET practitioners from various TVET institutions.

The program was designed for the participants to understand concepts in digital learning in TVET and to build TVET institute’s capacity to incorporate these in facilitating flexible and effective learning strategies in organizational and classroom management. The participants are expected to be able to demonstrate ability to apply digitalization skills using digital learning mechanisms and platforms at the end of the program.

The program was supervised jointly by CPSC Director General, Prof. G.L.D. Wickramasinghe, and MoESD Department of Workforce Planning and Skills Development Director, Mr. Norbu Wangchuck. The program coordinators were Assoc. Prof. Ts. Dr. Affero Ismail, Head of Digital Innovation Centre (DICE), Faculty of Technical and Vocational Education, Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia; and Engr. Dr. Mian Khuram Ahsan, CPSC Senior Faculty Specialist. Mr. Karma Dorji, Head of the Technical Trainer Training and Resource Center, Department of Workforce Planning and Skills Development, MoESD, served as the local coordinator and resource person. Other resource persons were Dr. Steven McKee, President of Labtech International Ltd., and Mr. Brad Ker, General Manager, Labtech Academy.

Welcome Address Delivered by the speakers from the left: CPSC Director General Prof. G.L.D. Wickramasinghe; Labtech International Ltd. President Dr. Steven McKee; and Director of Department of Workforce Planning and Skills, MoESD, Mr. Norbu Wangchuck

The opening ceremony was graced by key guests from CPSC and MoESD. Prof. Wickramasinghe delivered the opening remarks and encouraged the participants to be participative and wished for a fruitful and interactive five-day program. Likewise, Mr. Norbu Wangchuck, during his welcome speech, acknowledged the significance of incorporating digital learning in management of TVET institute and expressed his good wishes to the participants for a fruitful training.

The sessions and lectures during the five-day program focused on integral topics such as digitalization in TVET, conceptualizing digital frameworks and new skills in the 21st-century, online and blended learning, and a discussion on digital learning platforms. In relation to these topics, lectures on artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and mixed reality were also introduced and delivered. These lectures were facilitated by resource persons under CPSC’s partner, Labtech International Ltd., headed by its president, Dr. Steven McKee and General Manager, Mr. Brad Ker.

Lectures being delivered by resource persons: Assoc. Prof. Ts. Dr. Affero Ismail and Mr. Brad Ker (left photo) and Mr. Karma Dorji (right)

Workshops and activities were also done to keep the sessions participative. The participants were tasked to create digital learning lesson plans and assessment mechanisms for their TVET institutions and develop digital learning materials for utilization in the classroom. The activity outputs were presented during the last day of the training.

Photos of participants during the workshop sessions

A study visit to the Technical Training Institute - Thimphu, Ministry of Labor and Human Resources, Bhutan was also conducted to supplement the lecture and workshops during the program. During the onsite visit, the participants were able to briefly tour the facility including its automotive and textile workshops.

Photos during the study visit to the Technical Training Institute - Thimphu, Bhutan

National Seminar

During the fourth day of the training, CPSC together with the MoESD, Bhutan conducted the National Seminar on Virtual TVET for TVET Sustainability in Globalization. The seminar was attended physically by a total of 30 college directors, administrators, instructors, lecturers, and academicians related to TVET authority throughout Bhutan.

Photos of speakers during the National Seminar on Virtual TVET for TVET Sustainability in Globalization: Mr. Brad Ker (right) and Dr. Steven McKee (left)

In the hopes of utilizing its potential to contribute to TVET sustainability in the era of globalization, the national seminar was implemented to explore how digital TVET can address the challenges brought about by the skills gap and to enhance workforce competitiveness in today’s globalized economy. The seminar also aimed to discuss the pivotal role of TVET in promoting sustainable education and training practices to reduce the environmental impact of traditional learning methodologies. The sessions tackled various aspects of virtual TVET such as integrating micro credentials in virtual TVET programs, 21st century TVET classrooms, and implementation of digital learning in TVET curriculum in institutions. An open forum culminated the seminar where the participants got to ask questions to the session speakers.