Phurpa Lhamo 

Iron Female Ox year-Education: If anything, the Female Iron-Ox Year (2021) succeeded to force the education sector to innovate and venture further into enhancing the education experience through digital mediums.

The sector also hogged the headlines for many wrong reasons.

The government received much flak for its decision to do away with the cut off point for class 10 students as it was blamed for a decrease in overall pass percentage by 0.92 percent in 2020 as compared to 2019.

As for enrollment of Class XI students in private schools, the government finally settled to provide scholarships to students in private schools for the academic year since the construction of additional structures and hostels couldn’t be completed due to the pandemic.

As much as the pandemic had shown the challenges, the Royal Kasho on education reform was a constant reminder to do better and improve the quality of education.

The Prime Minister’s State of the Nation report said that Bhutan Baccalaureate System (which will be replicated in 22 additional schools) and the New Normal Curriculum (NNC) Frameworks and the new assessment were among the reforms, which had begun.

Of these, the new assessment criteria were much welcomed. Already, the performance of Class XII students showed a decline in the overall pass percentage. Further, an assessment showed that 46 percent of Classes IV to XII students had failed to secure 40 percent in their midterm examination. This was attributed to the new assessment criteria, which required students to score 40 percent on written examinations and continuous assessments each.

Although the fail percentage increased slightly due to the new criteria, experts said that the change was necessary to improve the quality of education.

As the year neared the end, board examinations became a major concern. As cases started to surge across Bhutan, conducting examinations in such circumstances became challenging. The education ministry continued with various measures in place. As the male water tiger year begins, students are in midst of their examinations.