Yangchen C Rinzin 

Education transformation, curriculum, pedagogy, and information and communications technology (ICT) are some of the reforms that will be looked into in the education ministry’s 21st Century School Education Roadmap and Beyond.

According to the Sherig Lyonpo, Jai Bir Rai, the roadmap is a visionary document developed drawing inspiration from the royal decree (Kasho) on the education reform to address various issues and provide the way forward. “It is also included as a new initiative in the ministry’s 12th Plan.”

But educationists are questioning if the ministry’s decision to develop an education roadmap would scrap off the Bhutan Education Blueprint 2014-2024.

Some educationists said that if every new government keeps coming up with a different roadmap or blueprint without any concrete intervention in the quality of education, the education system will continue to remain under public’s scrutiny and criticism.

A senior teacher serving in a remote dzongkhag questioned who would address the present issues in the education system if governments keep changing education strategies. “No government would implement the education policy and plan of the previous government.”

The blueprint, formulated by the previous government, is a time-bound strategic roadmap for a systematic transformation of the school education system.

It has a sequenced plan on how to transform the schools based on priority, by 2024, schools and the education system should be performing at high levels of effectiveness and efficiency.

However, Sherig Lyonpo told Kuensel that the education roadmap is completely different from the blueprint. “The roadmap is a visionary document, an aspirational document for school education for the future, which is why the document is named as 21st Century and beyond.”

He said the blueprint is a timeline on what should be implemented and when.

He also clarified there is no political agenda in developing the roadmap because the ministry is still implementing it. “The ministry is also currently reviewing the blueprint, but the pandemic disrupted its verification processes.”

Lyonpo JB Rai said it is difficult to implement what is in the blueprint with changing times, which does not necessarily mean it is being politicised or doing away with the plan. “The roadmap doesn’t have an exact timeline, but gives a direction for the future.”

He said that with time, some plans in the roadmap might not be implementable.

Meanwhile, the roadmap is almost complete and it will undergo different consultations including parents, political parties, and various agencies related to the education fraternity before submitting to the Cabinet.

Lyonpo JB Rai said the consultation is expected to bring in values, suggestions and feedback. “Consultation is important because the roadmap should be a document for everyone and not just for the ministry. People must understand that the education system cannot be changed overnight.”

He said that once the roadmap is ready, there would be specific blueprints for curriculum like how to go textbook less, or a blueprint on pedagogy that will prepare teachers for the future education system. “The roadmap would also prepare students for future jobs depending on the country’s economy.”

The roadmap is targeted to be ready by December this year.

Edited by Tashi Dema