….providing SEN students with variety of opportunities to lead autonomous lives
By Sonam Deki
As a part of Special Education Needs (SEN) program, the Early Child Care Development (ECCD)
and SEN division, Department of School Education, Ministry of Education and Skills
Development established curriculum to acquire life skills for children with disabilities and some SEN
schools are giving various life skill lessons such as laundry, tailoring, cooking, and arts and crafts in
With these skills learned in schools, they can transit to Technical and Vocational Education and Training
(TVET) for further up skilling. The fundamental goal of SEN students transitioning into TVET is to
develop their skills so that they may live independent lives.
During the handing over of washing machines to SEN students, an officials from Early Child
Care Development (ECCD) and SEN division, Department of School Education, Ministry of
Education and Skills Development said, “There are 39 schools overall, including 13 new transitional
schools and 26 SEN schools. After they graduate from these schools, they will attend transitional schools
to complete their education. TVET will be one of the transitional schools. We are collaborating with
Asian Development Bank (ADB) supported by TVET, we will be able to divert some students so that
they can select their streams based on their activities. They will depend solely on the class they take in
TVET for the rest of their lives. When they graduate from this program, they will have the information
and skills needed to succeed in their mainstream”.
The preparation of SEN to transit into TVET starts from their main schools.
Principal of Changangkha school said, “Around 996 students are enrolled here, 125 of whom
have disabilities. Of these 125, four prevocational training programs are offered to students with
disabilities, and eight of these students are enrolled in the prevocational training program for
laundry. We are preparing each student to work in laundry for a day while also teaching them
literacy, numeracy, and language skills through it.”
He stated, “We need children to transfer to another institute when they turn 14 years old, but in the case of
Changangkha, we found that children are not yet ready to do so. As a result, we kept the age limit at 16,by which these children would have learnt everything that could be taught in a classroom. Hence, we
must transfer them to a facility where they must learn to live independently.”
UNICEF’s two-stage disability study found that 21%(percent) of children in Bhutan age 2 to 9 year-old
had an impairment/disability. More than 14,000 people in Bhutan have a disability of some kind, says the
800 Children with special needs and almost 600 teachers have received special education training.
SEN programs aim to provide specialized support to children with disabilities in inclusive settings, along
with two specialized Institutes, one for educating children who are deaf and one for educating children
who have vision impairments.
Education for all has been and continues to be a priority for Bhutan. Recognizing a gap in special
education, the Bhutan Foundation works in collaboration with the Ministry of Education’s Early
Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) and Special Education Needs (SEN) Division to enhance
educational opportunities for children with special needs.
The program supports 12 public schools across Bhutan, mainly in building capacity for teachers and
providing teaching/learning materials and resources to enable children with disabilities to succeed in the
classroom. This program focuses on the largest percentage of students requiring assistance, which is the
group of students with mild-to-moderate learning difficulties.
Bhutan Foundation states, “We provided 18 schools with SEN programs with a complete set of materials.
In order to teach multi-media skills, we are collaborating with nine young people with impairments.
People with disabilities can get services from three CSOS in the area. The Bhutan Foundation works with
local and international partners to create awareness and improve the lives of individuals with disabilities
in Bhutan through our programs in educational services in public schools and transition. The success of
our programs would not be possible without the support of our international partners and in particular, our
partners on the ground who are implementing the programs.”