The education ministry’s Department of Adult and Higher Education (DAHE) is working on contract employment for non-formal education instructors’ (NFE) across the country.

This was announced at the recent 19th national education conference in Phuentsholing.

The issue of regularising NFE instructors was brought to the discussion when a participating education officer questioned about it.

Director general with DAHE, Kesang Choden Dorji, said they have taken up the matter with the Royal Civil Service Commission (RCSC).

“If approved they would be placed on contract,” she said. “We are quite optimistic.”

If approved, Kesang Choden Dorji said there would be better applicants. “Even university graduates and trained teachers could come on board for NFE instructors’ job.”

She also said that the ministry is planning to re-strategise and manage NFE, without expanding the numbers.

Meanwhile, an NFE- equivalency framework was also tabled for discussion at the education conference, which was endorsed in principle.

The equivalency framework would bring in NFE level III, which is an advanced learning course (ALC). As of now, there are only two courses offered to NFE learners that are the basic literacy course (BLC) and post-literacy course (PLC).

As per the framework, the ALC would be equivalent to class eight. Those who dropped out of school can continue and get back into the education system after completing ALC.

An ALC graduate would be allowed to sit for an entrance exam after ALC and try for class nine.

Today, PLC is only a competency-based study programme and does not equate with class six. With the framework in place, PLC would be equivalent to class six.

Class five dropouts could also enrol in the PLC.

A senior programme officer with DAHE, Norbu Gyeltshen said the framework should be implemented by mid-2020 if it goes as planned.

“We have to work on curriculum development,” he said.

Kesang Choden Dorji said that there is nothing standardised for NFE learners after level II (PLC).

“They can now have the option to continue,” she said, adding that NFE learners can also then continue in vocational and skills-based studies. “Dropouts in villages can be absorbed through this equivalency framework.”

She said they have tied up with the labour ministry to see what bridging could be provided to equip the learners.

There are 560 NFE centres across the country today and about 5,900 learners. There are more than 540 instructors.

Rajesh Rai  | Phuentsholing