Yangchen C Rinzin  

Realising the importance of digitalisation of schools, the implementation of information, communications and technology (ICT) curriculum from Pre-primary to Class XII under the education flagship will start from 2020 instead of 2021.

The implementation, however, will start first with those schools that have ICT laboratories and computers.

The government allotted Nu 1 Billion (B) for the flagship programme and it will focus on the digitalisation of schools and ensure that the students are engaged with ICT from pre-primary to make them IT literate.

The flagship will also train about 200 teachers on revised ICT curriculum or coding between January and February 2020.

Education ministry’s ICT officials said another 300 teachers would be trained in summer for the schools that do not have ICT instructors. They also said that since training on ICT would be from a scratch, teachers including those without the ICT background are willing to learn if the training is conducted for two months.

Officials claimed that by 2021, they plan to implement the revised ICT curriculum in full swing in all the schools with all the teachers trained on the new ICT curriculum. “We would, by then, have well-structured curriculum at all levels,” an official said.

However, the official while presenting flagship programme to the Prime Minister (PM) Dr Lotay Tshering last week sought for additional budget of about Nu 25 million (M) to complete the training by 2020.

The PM said that for any on-going or immediate activities for the flagship, officials could manage from the 1B budget allocated for the flagship.

Lyonchhen advised the ministry to ensure that only teachers or ICT instructors are sent for any kind of training or to learn about coding.

The flagship programme includes construction of computer labs, setting up computer labs in primary schools, providing additional computers and labs in larger schools, and strengthening internet connectivity. The ministry would ensure the schools get additional computers by 2021.

By the end of December 2020 the ministry also expects to have a guideline for teachers in place.

The development and revision of ICT curriculum alone would cost about Nu 74.9M. Infrastructure development is estimated to cost about Nu 650.9M and Nu 107.5M for capacity development.

Currently, Classes IV-X have one period for ICT lessons a week while computer science is offered as an optional subject in higher secondary schools. However, only 10 percent of the primary schools offer practical literacy in ICT lessons and have their own IT labs.

All secondary schools have at least a computer lab with 10-32 working computers with internet leased line, and 30 percent of primary schools have internet leased line.