The reforms that the Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa government initiated after it took office cannot be blamed for the poor quality of education and will remain, Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering said yesterday. 

He was responding to a question from the Maenbi Tsaenkhar MP Choki Gyeltshen at the National Assembly. 

Citing the research by Samtse College that showed quality of education had deteriorated after doing away with cut-off points for class 10 students, the MP asked  if the government was considering bringing back the cut-off points and examinations for classes till three. 

“The government did a u-turn and brought back classes on Saturday,” he said. 

The DNT had pledged to do away with class X cut-off marks, no examinations up to class three, and holiday on Saturday. 

Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering said the result of the changes in education introduced by the DNT government could only be assessed after 10 years. “It’s important for people to know the result will not come within a year or two.” 

“The research by lecturers with Samtse College are anecdotes and  views from parents, teachers, and students,” Lyonchhen said. 

Lyonchhen said reforms in education were brought because the quality of education was inadequate but he did not specify what research his party did before deciding on those reforms. 

Lyonchhen said other two changes – doing away with cut-off marks and no examination up to class three – would remain. He said that the cut-off point remains in essence because there is a certain percentage while choosing streams or schools. “We’ve only done away with students requiring to meet the cut-off point to study in higher secondary school.” 

Lyonchhen said Bhutan would be the only country to have a cut-off point to qualify for higher education and forcing youth to search for jobs with class 10 certificates which is against the country’s policy and labour Act. 

“Though there is no exam for classes up to three there is an internal assessment for students which experts have proven is best for children,” Lyonchhen said. 

MP Choki Gyeltshen said if the government had done extensive research before introducing the education reforms. He said there was criticism from public and media houses not to play with education. 

Lyonchhen said the basis of introducing the education reforms was from countries which had the best quality of education. “We compared their measures and saw potential to introduce the changes in our education system.”

MP Choki Gyeltshen also said every government meddled with education and health policies. He asked if the government was looking into coming up with an education Act and education council. “When we consulted with the education ministry they were waiting for the government’s directive to form an education council.”

Lyonchhen said the result of studies if it had benefited or deteriorated with DNT’s changes in education would come only by 2030 which was why talking about the Act was not possible right now and within two minutes. 

By Yangyel Lhaden 

Edited by Tshering Palden