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Bhutanese TVET Officials Oriented by CPSC on the Role of Accreditation in Achieving Quality-Assured TVET Programs

Through the years, The Royal Government of Bhutan has made considerable progress towards setting up of a modern TVET and recognized its significance as one of the strategies to facilitate socio-economic growth and accorded priority. Part of this plan is to upgrade the quality and capacity of TVET schools all over the country. For this year, it tapped the Colombo Plan Staff College to aid them in this endeavor.

From April 1 until April 5, 2019, a total of 30 trainers, managers, and TVET regulatory authorities from TTIs, as well as private training providers, relevant officials from the Ministry of Labor and Human Resources (MoLHR), and other pertinent stakeholders from Bhutan were trained by CPSC on the role of Accreditation in Achieving Quality-Assured TVET Programs. The training program was held at the premises of the Natural Resources Development Corporation Limited (NRDCL) in Thimphu.

Through the efforts of CPSC in organizing this program, their quality assurance systems and processes for TVET will be reviewed and enhanced through the competencies and skills of the newly-trained staff.

The program was organized to: (1) Enhance the knowledge and skills on quality management system in TVET and suggest possible measures for QMS in Bhutanese context and (2) Recognize the significance of the Asia-Pacific Accreditation and Certification Commission (APACC) for Quality Assurance.

The overall arrangements were jointly supervised by the CPSC Director General, Dr. Ramhari Lamichhane and the Director of the Technical Education-MoLHR, Mr. Norbu Wangchuk. CPSC’s Faculty Specialist, Ms. Therese Tan Lee, was the overall program coordinator and primary resource person. She was supported by the Chief Program Officer for the TVET Professional Services Division of MoLHR, Mr. Sangay Dorji, who is also the local coordinator of the program. Discussions about the local context of accreditation was facilitated by the Chief Program Officer of the Quality Assurance Division at the Department of Occupational Standards- MoLHR, Ms. Yeshey Khandu.

Dr. Ramhari Lamichhane (left) and Ms. Therese Lee (center) with the Honorable Secretary of MoLHR, Dasho Sonam Wangchuk (right) during the opening ceremony. The participants and guests were officially welcomed at the Opening Ceremony held at the NRDCL Conference Hall on April 1, 2019. The event was graced by the Chief Guest and the Honorable Secretary of the MoLHR, Dasho Sonam Wangchuk. His attendance is an affirmation of MoLHR’s support to CPSC’s activities in Bhutan and a demonstration of their confidence to CPSC’s abilities to deliver the needs of their staff on professional training particularly on TVET quality assurance.

The five-day event was a fruitful endeavor filled with activities and sessions that focused on the following themes: (1) QMS in TVET for Skilled Workforce; (2) Quality Assurance System on TVET Programs, Registration and Accreditation System; (3) Quality Assurance System on the National Assessment and Certification; (4) External Quality Assurance using APACC Criteria and lastly (5) Quality Assurance System of Bhutan. To complement the classroom activities, a study visit to the Royal Institute of Tourism and Hospitality (RITH) in Thimphu was also embarked to provide a more practical approach to fulfill the program’s objectives.

The five-day event concluded with a closing ceremon y held on April 5, 2019. In attendance are the high officials of CPSC and MoLHR, led by H.E. Lynpo Ugyen Dorji, Minister for MoLHR. He was able to meet separately with Dr. Ramhari Lamichhane to discuss common areas for future cooperation between CPSC and Bhutan. He was also able to address all the participants of the program and wishes for the overall socio-economic development of the country through the efforts of the TVET sector. Meanwhile, Ms. Therese Lee mentioned in her reflection the need for the participants to further continue their quality experience and lessons to a practical level. She hopes that the achievements of the 5-day activity will be the “arm and tool” of the participants in continuing the voyage towards achieving quality and excellence in TVET.

CPSC Director General, Dr. Ramhari Lamichhane with some of the notable officials of the Bhutanese Ministry of Labor and Human Resources (MoLHR). (left) Meeting with the Minister of Labor and Human Resources of Bhutan, H.E. Lynpo Ugyen Dorji; (right) Presenting CPSC’s token to the Director of the Technical Education, Mr. Norbu Wangchuk

APACC and MNCEA jointly conduct Capacity Building Program on APACC Criteria and Process of Accreditation and Certification

To mutually support and advance the core principles of accreditation and certification of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) systems in Mongolia, the Asia Pacific Accreditation and Certification Commission (APACC) and the Mongolian National Council for Education Accreditation (MNCEA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding on March 29, 2019 at MNCEA Office in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

MNCEA is Mongolia’s quality assurance agency for higher and technical-vocational education. It conducts both institutional and program accreditation.

Dr. Ramhari Lamichhane, APACC President (represented by Ms. Adrienne Abril, APACC Officer) and Dr. Ariunbold Jaaljav, Vice Chairman and Director of MNCEA Secretariat signed the MOU on behalf of their respective organizations.

The parties agreed to promote the objectives and goals of APACC as a mechanism to encourage TVET institutions, such as polytechnic and technical colleges in Mongolia, to undergo self-study evaluation under APACC procedures and standards, and jointly organize capacity building trainings for Mongolia’s reviewers and specialists, among others.

APACC visits PCET, Mongolia for the second time for institutional re-evaluation

On March 25-27, 2019, the Polytechnic College of Engineering and Technology (PCET), based in Bayangol District, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, subjected itself to re-evaluation by the Asia Pacific Accreditation and Certification Commission (APACC). Experienced team composed of Dr. Paiboon Saiyawongs, APACC Special Officer in Thailand and Consultant of the Office of Vocational Education Commission (OVEC), Thailand was the Lead Accreditor; Mrs. Chuluuntsetseg Dagvadorj, Foreign Affairs Manager, MonCert LLC was the Member Accreditor; and Ms. Adrienne Abril, APACC Officer acted as Documentation Officer.

Initial meeting with PCET Management. (Clockwise) Narantuya Purevdorj, Director, Instructor Development Center; Namsrai Emeeljidgid, Consultant; Sergelen Munkh-Ochir, Director, External Relations Department; Ganbat Baramsai, Director; Dr. Paiboon Saiyawongs, APACC Lead Accreditor, and Mrs. Chuluuntsetseg Dagvadorj, APACC Member Accreditor.

Opening Program

PCET (formerly Institute of Engineering and Technology) was first accredited by APACC in 2012. It was established as the 5th Technical College on March 2, 1984 which marks 2019 as its 35th Founding Anniversary. PCET is currently being headed by the Director Mr. Ganbat Baramsai. PCET offers nine Vocational Education Tracks and six Technical Education Tracks mainly on construction-related subjects such as carpentry, plumbing, welding, and road and bridge construction.

Dr. Paiboon Saiyawongs sharing benefits of APACC Accreditation to the press

The institution was awarded Bayangol District’s “Premier social protection contributor” in 2014, Bayangol District “Premier Vocational training and production center” in 2015, and recognized as “Premier national employer” among 150 premier employers in the provision of health and social protections to staff, by Ministry of Labor and Social Protection.

Apart from institution’s officials, notable personalities graced the activity’s opening program from the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection, Mongolian National Council for Education Accreditation (MNCEA), Ulaanbaatar Regional Methodology Center, Vocational Education Assessment Center, and German Society for International Cooperation.

Special Remarks and Orientation of On-Site Visit Schedule by Dr. Paiboon Saiyawongs Special Remarks by Mrs. Chuluuntsetseg Dagvadorj Opening Remarks by Mr. Ganbat Baramsai

The Director Mr. Ganbat Baramsai thanked the APACC Team for their presence and briefed them on the actions taken by PCET to address the recommendations given during the first on-site visit in 2012.

Mrs. Chuluuntsetseg Dagvadorj, in her Special Remarks, congratulated PCET for applying for APACC reaccreditation and wished PCET all the best during the whole exercise. She emphasized the importance of administration’s stability, faculty and staff development, as well as sustainable management of teaching and learning processes in the uplift of the institution’s quality and for continuous improvement. She further mentioned that PCET has to look forward to having cooperation with other APACC accredited institutions to exchange best practices, faculty members, and students.

In his special remarks, Dr. Paiboon Saiyawongs expressed his appreciation for the warm reception of the PCET team and informed the audience of the objectives of the visit, which is mainly to assess if PCET is still functioning according to APACC standards. He then discussed the full on-site visit schedule and requested for comments from the audience.

Tour of classrooms, laboratories, workshops, and other facilities commenced after the opening program.

Tour of Facilities

Briefings per APACC criterion which are 1) Governance and Management, 2) Teaching and Learning, 3) Human Resources, 4) Research and Development, 5) Image and Sustainability, 6) Other Resources, and 7) Support to Students, were presented by criterion heads prior to actual interviews to provide in depth understanding of PCET system. These happened on the first and second day of the visit.

Presentations, Interviews, and Review of Documents

On the third and last day, March 29, 2019, the team, through the Lead Accreditor, reported the Qualitative Indicators including the Commendations (noteworthy practices that are over and above the APACC requirements), Affirmations (acknowledgments of adequacy of provisions to comply with APACC requirements), and Recommendations (suggested measures to address gaps in order to comply with APACC requirements).

The report was fully accepted by the institution, made known through the closing speech of PCET Dean of Academic Affairs Mrs. Bayarmaa Tsogtbaatar.

The Vice Chairman and Director of MNCEA Secretariat Dr. Ariunbold Jaaljav and MNCEA Senior Officer for Technical and Vocational Education Accreditation Mrs. Altanchimeg Bat-Ulzii were in attendance during the closing program to provide support to PCET.

Presentation of Commendations, Affirmations, and Recommendations by Dr. Paiboon Saiyawongs. Mrs. Uranchimeg Tungalag, PCET External Relations Specialist (standing, right) was designated interpreter during the on-site visit. Dr. Ariunbold Jaaljav (2nd from right) and Mrs. Altanchimeg Bat-Ulzii (rightmost) from MNCEA attended the Closing Program