Serbithang TTI to be completed by mid-2023

The current TTI at Changzamtog. (Pic: Tshewang Chojay)

74 percent of the physical works on the Technical Training Institute is completed as of January 19

KARMA CHIMI | Thimphu
The Technical Training Institute (TTI) in Changzamtog, Thimphu will be shifted to Serbithang and will be operational by August, 2023 if the construction and procurement activities are completed as planned.

The construction work was awarded in March, 2020 and was expected to be completed by March, 2022.

However, the Covid-19 pandemic struck the country shortly after the work was awarded, severely impeding the works with a lack of labour and construction materials. In addition, movement restrictions of materials and manpower affected all other construction across the nation, the erstwhile Ministry of Labour and Human Resources (MoLHR) claimed.

Taking account of the loss due to the pandemic situation, the project was accorded extension until June this year.

The department of technical education under the former Ministry of Labour and Human Resources, now clubbed with the Ministry of Education and Skills Development (M0ESD), was the pilot agency identified for the establishment and implementation of the project.

Their initial plan was to allocate a certain portion of the area in Serbithang to relocate the Institute of Zorig Chusum, Thimphu, as the current site does not have scope for expansion. However, this idea was later dropped.

Officials from the project said that the construction of a new institute at Serbithang will contribute to the enhancement of the enrolment capacity as well as to relocate the training institute currently located at Changzamtog.

The current TTI is housed together with the Thimphu City Bus Services in a cramped location and is unable to meet the enrolment capacity demands. “There is also no space for expansion, for both the institute and the city bus,” said an official.

He added that the land at Serbithang was facilitated by the Thimphu Thromde for relocation of the institute to a bigger space to enhance its enrolment capacity.

After completion, which is expected to be by June 2023, it is said that the institute will have a capacity to enrol more than 300 students.

The capacity of the institute will be increased from the current 80 trainees, to more than 300 with boarding facilities. The capacity can be expanded as day scholar trainees can also avail the training facilities at the new campus.

Officials from the project said today the major issues faced by the technical and vocational education and training (TVET) system of Bhutan pertains to limited physical capacity, poor standard of facilities, inadequate industry relevant tools and equipment in TVET institutions making TVET unattractive for youths.

The construction of the new institute is expected to address these concerns through provision of an aesthetically appealing physical environment supported by latest training tools and equipment.

Through provision of such improved facilities, the institute aims to improve public perception of TVETs, attract high performers and transform TVETs into an attractive learning and career pathway.

Based on the TVET reform plan, all TTIs are envisioned to have the basic common minimum facilities in place. Therefore, all TTIs will have more or less the same facilities but with different courses and enrolment capacities.

The focus of TTI Thimphu will be on automobile engineering courses including hybrid and electric vehicle (EV) technology. A diploma in automotive technology is currently being developed with support from Institute of Technical Education, Singapore.

The institute will also continue to provide the existing courses and will deliver new courses such as refrigeration and air conditioning (RAC), heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), automobile (hybrid and EV), logistics and supply chain and information technology.

The construction was awarded in two packages to Penjor Construction and to East West Construction Pvt Ltd, and JM Builders.

As of 19 January, the physical progress was about 74 percent and is being funded by the Asian Development Bank with the total project costs of Nu 327.16 million.

Today, there are six TTIs and two Institutes of Zorig Chusum across the country with the combined capacity of around 1,800 students in a year.

The Education Blueprint meanwhile, requires the TVET system to absorb about 40 percent of the secondary high school graduates, around 4,800 students, by 2034 on an annual basis.

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