Starting this academic session, class XI and XII will study a new curriculum on business and entrepreneurship in place of Commerce subject.
Education officials said entrepreneurship study was integrated into the curriculum, as entrepreneurship programmes are offered only for unemployed youth and there was a lack of innovation and entrepreneurial activities in schools.
Committee of subject experts from the education ministry, Royal University of Bhutan and other relevant agencies, who review the curriculum contents, approved the new curriculum.
They recommended renaming the subject as Business and Entrepreneurship to align with the curriculum content.
Earlier this year, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Royal Education Council, Department of School Education, and Department of Entrepreneurship and Employment to integrate entrepreneurship curriculum in school education.
The integration was to encourage creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurial thinking from an early stage of education.
The entrepreneurship curriculum will be integrated into Economic, Arts, TVET and Social Studies and financial literacy from the Royal Monetary Authority.
About 77 teachers, who will teach Business and Entrepreneurship, were oriented to the new curriculum and trained in entrepreneurship to begin teaching the new curriculum.
The teachers were trained in four different cohorts and regions, covering 75 schools. The orientation training ended yesterday in Paro.
According to the deputy chief programme officer of Entrepreneurship and Self-Employment Division, Ram Bdr Gurung, entrepreneurship education has become crucial for Bhutan owing to emerging issues such as youth unemployment, trade deficit and soaring national debt.
He said that educators must ensure that students were presented with entrepreneurship options in their career choices. “Students should be encouraged to explore new businesses as alternative career preferences.”
As per the division’s action plan, more than 850 teachers will be undergoing entrepreneurship training by 2023.
Accountancy and Commerce curriculum developer with REC, Tashi Zangpo, said that the new curriculum included contemporary business and entrepreneurship concepts, theories and practices, which are essential for learners to enhance their entrepreneurial mindset and competencies.
He said that the new curriculum includes different aspects of business management, creativity and innovation, design thinking, lean startup, business modelling, and planning to enhance 21st century skills.
He added that some relevant chapters from the Commerce textbooks were integrated into the new subject.
Director of REC, Kinga Dakpa, said that integrating entrepreneurship studies would help those class XII students, who do not qualify for further studies, to start small businesses.
According to most participants, Commerce became less relevant with change in time and the need of the society.
Subash Biswa, a Commerce teacher of Youten Kuenjung Academy, said the contents were based on foreign settings that make them less relevant to Bhutanese learners, and the classroom lacks practical lessons.
Subash Biswa has been teaching Commerce for 17 years.
He said had it not been for the training, most teachers would face difficulty learning the new curriculum, as there was a vast difference.
Head of the Damphu Central School’s business department, Jigme Nidup, said that the new curriculum provided a paradigm shift from the teacher and examination-centred learning to the learner and application-centred learning.
He said that it also provided a change in assessment criteria where students won’t be judged based on one competency.
He added that he would train the teachers in his school about the foundation of entrepreneurship, starting from the idea stage to writing a business proposal.
He said, although the new curriculum was the way forward, teachers would face challenges in adapting to the new teaching method. “Many teachers will face difficulty in financial projection.”
During a weeklong training programme, participants learned stages of launching a business from business idea generation, selecting business ideas, developing a business model and planning, pitching business ideas to the investors and drafting a business proposal.
The training was jointly funded by labor ministry through CSI and startup flagship programme and REC.