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Social Sector Programme Support 2008 - 2013

The Social Sector Programme Support (SSPS) represents Danish support to health, education and vocational education and training in Bhutan.

Follow this link to access the Programme Document on Social Sector Programme Support.

The SSPS follows the support to the health sector, which started in 1990, and the support to education, which started in 2003. The programme is in line with the objectives and targets set in Bhutan's 10th Five-Year Plan (FYP). Consequently, the overall objective is poverty reduction and will contribute to the 10th FYP's overall goal of poverty reduction from 23% to less than 15% by end of 2013.

The RGoB accords high priority to the social sectors of health and education. During the 9th FYP it received 25% of the plan budget. Indicators show major improvements and Danish support has significantly contributed to these postive results.

In the 10th Plan (2008 – 2013) social sector has been allocated 24% of total budget. Targets to be achieved by 2013 include:

  • Enhancing primary net enrolment to near 100%

  • Enhancing enrolment of girls in tertiary institutes to 80 girls for every 100 boys

  • Enhancing access to Vocational Education and Training to 70% of school leavers

  • Ensuring 100% of courses conducted in Vocational Training Institutes are in line with the labour market demand

  • Reducing Under 5 Child mortality to less than 30/1000

  • Reducing Maternal mortality to less than 100/100,000

  • Increasing access to safe drinking water in rural areas to more than 95%

  • Improving proportion of population within 3 hours walking distance of a health facility to more than 90%

Since 1990, Danish support to the social sector started with support to health and in 2003 the education sector. The health sector received three grants: DKK 74.6 million (10.6 million Euros) from 1990-1997, DKK 120million (17.1 million Euros) from 1997-2002 and DKK 93.7 million (13.4 million Euros) from 2003 – 2008. An additional DKK 44.5 million (6.3 million Euros) was provided for the Rural Water and Sanitation Component, running from 1999-2007. These grants have supported primary health care through infrastructure expansion, health promotion and education, human resource development, improved planning and management, rural water supply and sanitation and also supported specific disease programmes.

Danish first major support to the education sector started in November 2003 with a grant of DKK 80.5 million (11.5 million Euros) to support to the Royal Government of Bhutan’s 9th Five Year Plan for Education including human resource development.

The agreed Danish contribution to implementation of SSPS is DKK 140 million (19 million Euros) over 5 years. SSPS has three components:

Component 1 . Sector Budget support to the Social Sector. This component comprises the largest share of the funding of DKK 107 million (77%). The funds will be channelled twice a year into the Ministry of Finance, which will cover the expenses of the health and education sectors as part of regular RGoB expenditures. The provision of sector budget support to the two sectors hinges on the continued priority given to the sectors generally by the RGoB and to particular important aspects of their development, not least aspects which are crucial for the sustainability of the achievements made in the sectors as well as for the equity of access to the services provided. Progress will be measured against a set of health and education indicators, which will reflect the MDG goals and targets, and others, such the EFA goals and targets with regards to the education sector. The major assumption for this component is that the RGoB will maintain the agreed level of allocation to the health and education sectors. Budget allocations to the two sectors will be reviewed at regular reviews of the sector.

Component 2 : Support for vocational Education and Training (VET). This is the smallest component with 11% (DKK 15 million) of the funding and will provide earmarked support to the Ministry of Labour  and Human Resources (MoLHR). The objective is to link the education system and the vocational education system to the private sector ensuring that training programmes offered are in line with market demands. To achieve this the component will focus on a few strategic objectives of the overall Vocational Education and Training Plan and in particular enhancing access, upgrading qualifications of instructors, improving quality assurance, strengthening employment promotion services and finally strengthening the human resource department in the MoLHR, which will be responsible for the overall implementation of the Vocational Education and Training Plan, including curriculum development, training of trainers and in-country training for the private sector.

Component 3 : Technical Assistance and Management of the programme. The component includes budgets for: a) technical assistance, b) as share of the staff, recurrent and investment costs of the Representation Office of Denmark (ROD) over the SSPS period, and c) the cost of reviews and other studies related to the SSPS. The budget allocation for this component is 12% of the total.

Bhutan’s priorities fit well with the Danish Policy context which emphasises poverty reduction and equity. This support to SSPS also augurs well with Danish Development policies within the areas of poverty reduction as it is one of the principal objectives in the pursuit of Gross National happiness (GNH), and is the main framework of the 10th FYP; democratization and respect for human rights; gender equality, environmental issues and HIV/AIDS.