MoE decides to work on the education reform instead of waiting for directives

Yangchen C Rinzin 

The education ministry has initiated new activities in their 12th Plan, which includes development of a 21st Century Education Roadmap by December. The ministry claimed the roadmap would be in line with the Royal Decree (Kasho) on the education reform.

The ministry has decided to work on the roadmap even as they wait for the formation of a “reform team” or the Council for Education Reform, as indicated in the Royal Kasho.

Education Secretary Karma Tshering said that the draft roadmap was ready and submitted to the education minister. The secretary said that this was only a draft and although the ministry is still waiting for directives on the Council formation, the ministry decided to keep gathering inputs for the education reform.

“We need to do additional consultation and groundwork and this roadmap would provide us internal input and when the Council is formed, their comments would be an external input to expedite the education reform,” the secretary said. “We’ve ensured that the roadmap is prepared based on Kasho’s content.”

The roadmap, as of now, is considered a visionary document from 2020 to 2030. The roadmap, as in line with the Kasho, will take care of reforms like curriculum, education transformation, school system, ICT and pedagogy.

Sherig Lyonpo Jai Bir Rai said that the draft roadmap would be presented soon at the Dhensa meet to discuss and collect feedback from the Prime Minister,    Cabinet members and Gross National Happiness Commission.

“While there is no clarity on how the education ministry should treat the education reform, we felt that we shouldn’t wait for somebody to come in person to start working on the reform,” Lyonpo said. “Whatever new activities or roadmap we are preparing for the education, it will be in line with the Kasho.”

However, Lyonpo said that the ministry would not implement the initiatives until a Council is formed. “We’re going ahead with the activities and plans that would contribute to the education reform instead of waiting for directives. The Kasho is issued and we must understand and start working.”

The ministry has also planned to initiate new activities like Sherig Service Excellence and replication of teaching and learning practice of the Royal Academy in two schools and then each school in thromde/dzongkhag by 2022 academic session.

The education secretary said that the Sherig Service Excellence would provide service and do something different for the education system. The ministry has also revised the target to reform the new normal curriculum and create digital textbooks.

The ministry also has a plan to incentivise a 10 percent proficiency allowance from January 2023 for teachers who will meet certain standards of proficiency.

Secretary Karma Tshering, during a presentation of a midterm review on April 26, said that this allowance would churn out the good quality teachers if it is successful.

He added that it is being incentivised only for those who meet certain standard so that teachers would take the profession seriously. “If we incentivise equal allowance, teachers may not take the allowance seriously.”

While the ministry is working on the plans and initiating new activities, many observers during the midterm review shared concern that the ministry must keep in mind the Kasho before initiating any activities.

Some shared that the ministry should not wait for the separate directives to work based on Kasho’s content.

Foreign Minister Dr Tandi Dorji reminded the ministry that it would be difficult for the Cabinet to approve all the new initiatives, as it would depend on how the education reform takes place.

“The Kasho has commanded that we bring in the change. The new activities or any plan for the education ministry must align with the Kasho,” Chidrel Lyonpo said.

The Finance Secretary Nim Dorji also reminded the education ministry that the additional budget of 1 billion ngultrum the ministry has proposed must be invested to meet the reforms the Kasho has commanded.