Critical thinking to be tested in next exams

Part of an education blueprint and one of the activities for 2015

BCSEA: Students of classes III, VI, VIII, X and XII across the country can expect competency or skill based questions that will require critical thinking in the upcoming examinations.

At least 15 percent of the questions will be competency-based, according to Bhutan Council for School Examination Assessment (BCSEA) officials.

Although skill-based questions were included in model question papers since last year, the questions would be improved to test students’ critical thinking, analysis, problem solving, reasoning and innovation, among others.

BCSEA’s specialist, Tshering Tenzing, said this was being done to assess the quality of education at key stages.  It was also to remove the “examination-oriented system”, or rote learning, in the country.

“We’re moving towards preparing questions in a way that can tests skill and competencies of students,” he said. “It’ll test the student’s ability to understand the subject.”

Tshering Tenzing, however, said that it did not mean the curriculum was being changed.

The move is a part of the education blueprint and one of the activities for 2015 that BCSEA will be initiating.  For this academic year, the education blueprint has seven major activities.   It broadly focuses on teachers’ capacity building or professional development and improving teaching-learning methods.

The recently formed Education Blueprint Unit’s chief, Phuntsho Wangdi, said that 2015 would focus on upscaling some of the already existing activities in the schools.

More attention would be provided to languages (English and Dzongkha), mathematics and science.  Since most schools across the country have internet connection, Phuntsho Wangdi said, teachers could use videos to explain lessons better, and move away from the “chalk and talk” teaching methods.

“It depends on the principal how a school performs,” he said.

Upscaling youth enrichment activities, developing life skills of students through GNH education, and making school a better place to teach and learn, are some of the other activities on the list for this year.

Phuntsho Wangdi explained that most activities and initiatives are inter-related. “GNH education will ensure that students do better academically, as well as learn health and civic literacy,” he said. “It will complement and supplement the school curriculum.”

By Nirmala Pokhrel

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