According to the Royal Education Council  (REC), Environmental Studies (EVS) is infused in English and Dzongkha subjects for pre-primary to Class I beginning this academic session.

The 18th National Education Conference last year recommended infusing EVS into language curriculum without losing its essence.

Curriculum developer, Sangay Tshering, said the relevant concepts and topics of EVS are infused into Dzongkha and English with changes in the implementation strategies for Class PP-III after the EVS as a subject was discontinued from curriculum in 2017.

“One of the implementation strategies is place based education (PBE), which is an educational approach that connects learning and communities to increase students’ engagement, academic outcomes, and community impact,” he said. “This also involves contextualising the learning contents to learners’ immediate physical, social, cultural and spiritual environment, which will also help children learn skills and concept of EVS.”

Although the plan is to infuse EVS for Classes PP to III, REC would implement only for PP-I this year and for class II-III in the 2019 academic session. There will also be no separate examinations for EVS as it now infused in the language curricula.

Sangay Tshering said that topics and concepts to be included for classes PP and I are ready. “But all the Dzongkha and English teachers teaching classes PP to III have been oriented to the infused curriculum.”

Topics like history, culture, social themes, and values are infused in Dzongkha. Science, geography, economics and mathematics topics are infused into English.

“As an interim measure in 2017, the schools were instructed to continue teaching EVS by Dzongkha teachers based on the guidelines developed by REC,” Sangay Tshering said. “However, with the start of implementation of the infused EVS this year, there will be only three subjects offered in primary that is English, Dzongkha and Mathematics.”

REC has developed new activities in teachers’ manual like PBE and approach, which are incorporated as strategy to teach language using infused EVS topics. A nationwide orientation workshop was also conducted and primary teachers were trained to implement the infused EVS.

Around 600 teachers from 60 Teacher Resource Centres were trained.

EVS, which was introduced as a subject in 1985, was discontinued as per the resolutions of National Curriculum Conference in 2016 to give focus to literacy and numeracy.

Sangay Tshering said EVS was introduced to teach environment, culture, tradition, and social skills at an early age . The medium of instruction was switched to Dzongkha in 1996.

“But over time, it was observed that the implementation strategies became more classroom-bound and most of the topics of the EVS were either included in Dzongkha or English curriculum that led to content overlap,” he added. “The first National School Curriculum Conference recommended strengthening primary education with special focus on literacy and numeracy, which was endorsed in the 18th conference and infused with English and Dzongkha.”

Sangay Tshering said that some of the objectives of infusing EVS were to build conceptual foundation for language development and acquisition, environment skill and knowledge development, and language learning engaging and interesting.

Yangchen C Rinzin