Education lies at the front and centre of our national life. Our success and our failure will be determined by the robustness of our education system.

Bhutan Council for School Examinations and Assessment’s (BCSEA) decision to include more competency-based questions that will require critical thinking is welcome.

Education, declining quality of education in particular, has been the subject of national debate for far too long. At long last we seem to have gathered some courage to redeem our ailing education system.

We need to congratulate ourselves. The daring we have shown is a vital sign of development.

Rote learning has advantages. It has disadvantages too. A child may have a poem or methods of a mathematical problem by heart, but what good is that if the child has not understood why, how and what of what he can blurt out flawlessly?

Experts with BCSEA say that inclusion of skill-based questions will improve, among others, students’ critical thinking, analysis, problem solving, reasoning and innovation.

Exam-oriented education system has lived its time. It served it purpose well. What we now need is an education system that focuses less on exam results and more on skills development.

Studies have shown that skills or personality development is critical benchmark of learner success. Learning environment in our schools has improved by much over the years. Access to the Internet is making teaching-learning experience more enriching and effective.

Education in this country is going through a major reform today. It began with Educating for Gross National Happiness programme a few years ago. Already schools have reported enhanced academic performance and improved student behaviour.

But we will have true success only when our children are able to think critically and analyse and tackle problems so that they can really understand the subjects they study in school.

It is a good initiative we have begun. The quality of our education hinges on the success on this reform.