Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Bhutan : Institutionalising the institutes

1 September, 2008 - For years, the two Zorig Chusum institutes in the country have been training apprentices in various crafts through different traditional means, mainly oral culture. This will change.

The institutes will soon have a curriculum for the crafts and they are starting with tshemdru (embroidery).

“We’re starting with one of the simplest trades so that, when we go further, it will be easier,” said Karma Dorji, programme officer of human resources department, who conducted the curriculum workshop that ended today in Khuruthang.

The two institutes offer about six trades namely lhadrip (mural painting), jinzoe (sculpture), troezoe (silver smith), shazoe (woodturning), tshemsoe (tailoring and embroidery), and patta (wood carving).

Karma Dorji said that, without a proper curriculum, the institutes had been delivering training through in-house syllabus and practices without any documents. “It had mostly been like the delivery of skills from father to son,” he said.

He said that there was also not much interaction between the two institutes and having a curriculum would ensure that training delivered at both institutes would be the same.

Meanwhile, the curriculum on tshemdru will drive the institutes to tackle one of the biggest challenges of competing with foreign products.

Karma Dorji said that they were trying to mimimise the time required for tshemdru products and, at the same time, ensure that products going to market were sold without compromising on quality. “We’ll also adopt innovative measures to sell the products,” he said.

Officiating principal of Trashiyangtse Zorig Chusum institute, Jigme Dorji, said that they even had plans to mechanise the craft, by introducing sewing machines, in order to compete with mass-produced foreign goods that come at cheaper rates.

“The traditional method took time and cost a minimum of Nu 6,000 while similar foreign machine-made goods cost no more than Nu 3,000,” he said, adding that mechanising the trade would not contradict traditional practice but would instead improve quality and delivery.

“We won’t compromise with the drawing and will stick to traditional designs and, if required, we’ll handpick the intricate designs,” he said.

Meanwhile, the curriculum, which is being prepared in line with the occupational profile, is also expected to set a standard to test vocational training. Woodcarving and silver smith could be the two trades to follow embroidery with their occupational profiles already in place.

By Kesang Dema


No comments: