Bhutan is looking at an education system that is time-relevant. But then, what does it really mean?
After many years of development experience, the country needs an education system that can give its young people the academic and skills advantage to succeed individually and to make significant contributions to advance the bigger national dreams.
Where is Bhutan in this awesome dream?
We have a long way to go. We know what reforms we need in the system and who must play the central roles to make the reforms a success.
CodeMonkey is the latest intervention in Bhutanese schools today to activate scientific curiosity in children from pre-primary up. However, this fun and educational game-based programme from where our children can learn how to code and navigate through bigger and more complex programming world, seems to be waddling in difficult waters.
Where there are computers, there aren’t trained teachers to teach. Where there are trained teachers to teach, there aren’t enough computers; and, where there are teachers and computers, there is no reliable internet.
Who is to blame?
The education ministry says that it has done all in its capacity to roll out the programme. Department of Information Technology and Telecom says it has done its best to connect all the Bhutanese schools with reliable infrastructure and networks.
The reality is that some schools have been able to roll out the programme and others haven’t.
The network provider, education ministry, and schools authorities, can work together, why not?
August, the timeline for seamless rollout of the programme is long gone. Yet our many players with the mandate to introduce CodeMonkey in Bhutanese schools do not seem to look each other in the eye. This serious disconnect is going to have a lasting impact on generations of Bhutanese children.
For a landlocked country like ours, education and innovation are our biggest strengths. We are already talking about robotics and space science. These are dreams worth dreaming but our dreams should have solid foundations.
How we educate our children so is critically important. In a fast changing world, even a minute’s delay in decisions could leave us centuries behind.
That’s why we must reform our education system, that’s why we must invest in it; that’s why government must give special emphasis on making it a reality.
It’s a race we are already in and we must win. There is no other option. Reform in education must receive special priority. For Bhutan, all the more!
Bhutan’s biggest asset in the coming years will be in education reform and their success. CodeMonkey is here. We have many more steps to cross—and fast. We can’t falter anymore.