Study finds majority of students enjoy online lessons

It was evident that almost all schools in the country accessed SIM for teaching and learning and found them effective and user-friendly

Sonam Penjor

Most students across the country said online learning is effective in engaging them while a good percentage, 74.48 percent of the respondents, said they enjoyed the online lessons.

In order to ensure the continuity of teaching and learning for children during the pandemic, the ministry of education inculcated four modes, including Bhutan Broadcasting Service (BBS) television (TV) lessons, self-instructional materials (SIM), Radio lessons and Google classroom to deliver the curriculum.

Most of the schools in the country also followed lessons aired in BBS for engagement and learning.

According to the Education in Emergency (EiE) Report published by Ministry of Education (MoE), the lessons aired through BBS TV were received well with 69.63 percent of the schools stating that the aired lessons were clear and understandable, 71.30 percent affirmed the lessons were well sequenced and 76.11 percent agreed that the contents were presented progressively.

The report also states that students who did not have access to BBS TV, radio lessons and Google Classroom were provided with SIM. Schools were also allowed to use other social media platforms to support teaching and learning.

The use of these learning medium by the schools varied from Dzongkhag to Dzongkhag depending upon the class level of students, location of schools and the user-friendliness of these learning medium.

However, reports showed that not all the students could avail lessons telecast through BBS TV since they did not have televisions. About 36 percent of the schools pointed out that the BBS airing timing was inconvenient for students.

Some schools expressed that TV lessons focused on terminal classes in each key stage posed challenges for lower class students to comprehend the concepts and language used in the learning activities. 71.2 percent of the schools claimed to have followed up on the BBS lessons by providing additional information, materials and activities, assessing through online classes, and clarifying doubts through social media Apps.

In addition to BBS TV lessons, “Schools had also prepared and shared a total of 19,005 video lessons for supplementing students’ learning. Wangsel Institute for the Deaf in Paro reported preparing their own videos lessons using sign language to teach their students,” added the report.

Further, the report added that the SIM were developed mainly to facilitate the learning of students in remote parts of the country who were unable to attend e-lessons. The learning activities in the SIM were developed considering the class levels of the students.

As per the reports, some of the strategies employed by schools to deliver SIM contents were through home visits and mobile teaching. In some schools, the SIM contents were also taught online through social media Apps, such as, WeChat, WhatsApp, Telegram, Messenger with the follow up activities.

It was evident that almost all schools in the country accessed SIM for teaching and learning and found them effective and user-friendly. However, a few Dzongkhags asserted that the students in lower classes found challenging to use SIM without guidance.

With regard to implementation of SIM, 72.78 percent of schools reported that the coverage of syllabus in SIM is adequate and 84.26 percent found it user-friendly. 80.19 percent stated that the SIM was effective for teaching and learning. Schools supplied SIM to students, who did not have phones and TV facilities at home. Most importantly, the SIM was found useful for learning for children living in rural locations of Gasa, Laya, Lunana, Lungo, Mendrelthang and Thangza where the mobile and radio network connectivity was weak.

Meanwhile, a total of 246,984 SIM booklets were distributed to the schools of which 160,675 booklets were supplied by the MoE, 36,454 booklets by the Dzongkhag and Thromde Education offices in addition to 49,855 copies printed in the schools with five volumes of SIM for each key stage.

The report submitted by the Dzongkhags and Thromdes indicated that there were a maximum number of users in key Stage I with the decrease in the users for key Stages II to V.