JAMYANG CHOPHEL | Thimphu
The State of Nation Report presented by Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering on 8December, 2022 addressed present issue of education system in the country.
Till date the main focus of the education system was to provide basic education to the children which included knowing how to read and write.
Likewise, people who were not able to join schools were provided with Non-Formal Education (NFE).
However, when studied in depth it is known that the quality of the education that the people are receiving is not the best. Bhutan practises knowledge-based and classroom-based education which is not applicable in other part of the world.
PM said education system should be transformed to skill-based system that is in demand.
He added students and the youths of the country does not have the required skills even after completing their higher studies. In addition, the government will be focusing on skills development which will benefit both youths and the country.
The process of transforming the practices has already started in various colleges and schools, PM added.
This process will improve the education quality and it will help in swift transformation from classroom based to skills-based system. likewise, the emphasis of the reform is on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects which will be useful in building and stabilizing economy of the country.
PM said there were no changes in the evaluation process and question framing but 2021 saw the decrease in pass percentage of class 10 students from 100 percent to 70 percent where as the only change made was regarding continues assessment and end exam. Students were to obtain 40% in both the assessments.
This indicates the flaws present in the teaching and learning system of our country, PM said.
Similarly, it was announced that 4000 seats were made available for students taking science subject in class 11. Unfortunately, only 3000 seats were occupied compared to commerce and arts subjects. PM said this incident also indicates threat in present situation as well as in the future.
“Teachers play a major role in improving the quality of education.” said Lyonchhen. Teachers in Bhutan do not have exposure and the knowledge. The knowledge they have are acquired within the country are limited.
PM said that the teacher should be given different opportunities rather than confining them in a school campus.
Teachers should be upskilled and the facilities they receive should be same for all the teachers despite their placement.
Vast difference has been observed between the teacher of rural and urban schools. Teachers of rural schools’ desires to get transferred to urban centres. Thus, if they are given the same facilities and opportunities, the teachers notion might change.
The government on the other hand is trying to narrow the differences between rural and urban schools.
To reduce the differences between the schools located in rural area and urban area, the government along with the Ministry of Education is working to make appropriate curriculum, upskilling teachers and better infrastructure.
Lyonchhen said that staff quarters are of importance and it should be loacted within the school or college campus.
There should be 3 sections created in schools. First section comprising children up to the age of 8 which will be known as early childhood education till class 3. At the present moment students are enrolled in class PP at the age of 5.
The second section should be made from classes 4-8 and third section from classes 9 till 12 said PM.
Emphasis should also be placed on ECCD facilitator with proper training. “We need sub-specialized version of primary school teachers with extra fellowship programmes,”
“If the quality of education improves then the country’s economy will be strengthened.”