DNT’s ‘No cut-off point’ initiative is a huge policy blunder

This was reiterated by Yeshey Wangchuk in PDP’s quarterly newsletter which was launched on 4 June

Sonam Penjor

Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa’s (DNT’s) much-hyped ‘No Cut-Off’ initiative for class X exams is nothing but a huge policy blunder akin to People’s Democratic Party’s (PDP’s) controversial over central school’s reform.

This was reiterated by Yeshey Wangchuk in PDP’s quarterly newsletter which was launched on 4 June where he states: “I see no rationality in DNT’s pursuit of adopting this unsustainable, discriminating and damaging initiative.”

He opines that politicians and their cronies ruthlessly defending the initiative to the extent of working the gullible netzines into frenzy at face value without giving due consideration of basic background questions. Who’s there to care? DNT is going with it anyway.

Yeshey Wangchuk writes that though the Opposition made an attempt to raise the issue it seemed to have been overtaken by the deluded moralists with their brazen words of attack.

“I seriously doubt DNT’s claim of ‘well-researched’ initiative. There is factual misrepresentation,” he wrote.

The country’s spending on education is highest in the region with allocated budget as high as whopping 7.1 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2017 as against 2.7 percent in India in 2018), 3.7 percent in Nepal in 2015, 3.49 percent in Siri Lanka in 2016) and 2.5percent in Bangladesh in 2017.

The national budget share for education is 18 percent. Education in the country is already accorded highest priority and there is no need to push further. It will only strain our scarce financial resource and deprive other priority sector of growth, stated Yeshey Wangchuk.

He further states that the government is responsible for universal education up to 10th standard, whereby, about 50 percent of the class 10-pass students are given opportunity to study further on merit basis at government expenses.

By any measure, this is significant in terms of social context and resource available. Therefore, DNT’s pledge of taking all onboard is something that is aimed at making things ‘perfect.’ This is where government is making mistake.

“If we are to go for perfect kind of situation in every sphere of society, we will never grow as country. We have so many other priority sectors that needed more attention and resources,” Yeshey reiterated.

Further, he stated that society by default is diverse. “Not all can be doctors, engineers, accountants and others. We need someone to build our homes, clean our houses, repair our cars, empty our septic tanks, repair our wirings, sew our cloths, make our hairs, and cook our food.”

“What DNT doing is to make the society homogenous. In fact, we are creating class of unproductive ‘educated’ citizens because higher the student studies, the more likely that they will not take up the skilled jobs. Studying up to class 12 does not guarantee job placement either,” he said.

He also stressed the government to invest in efforts and resource to promote vocational education, which is apparently a major issue in the country, and make our youth’s productive citizens.

“Why can’t the government encourage dignity of labour and show our youths that studying higher levels need not necessarily be a better career option and that vocational job is just a job no different from that of doctor’s. There’s unintentional consequence of government disregarding lower class levels,” Yeshey added.

According to him DNT’s claim of narrowing gap through no ‘cut-off’ initiative is grossly misrepresented. How can one be so naive to think that all that ‘not qualified’ students are from poor families?

He said thousands of students could afford studying in private schools across the country. “Now government will pay for them. Isn’t that DNT is helping good number of rich people by sponsoring their children? Is this mean narrowing a gap?”

Yeshey added that the country doesn’t have luxury of spending and the government is struggling to meet even the basic necessities at schools like stationaries, furniture, decent class rooms among a host of problems.

“Insufficiency of teacher is another issue in our schools not to forget the deteriorating quality of education that has been the subject of constant talk in the country,” he said.

He further opined that giving easy money to private schools would only make them redundant. It will kill innovation and sprit of competitiveness, a recipe for a quality disaster.

“Let us be sensible and stop being carried away by all kinds of fantasies. Examination is not a perfect method to gauge a student’s performance or capability but there’s no better alternative. In our kind of cultural settings, without examination, there’s no way we could better our quality of education,” Yeshey Wangchuk said, adding what that works in other countries cannot be forced into our system because we live in an environment that is totally different from theirs.