There is a debate, even if it is not open, on “ICTizing” schools and taking young Bhutanese on the path of the ICT journey. Officials not only boast about equipping schools with the required infrastructure, but of success in effectively implementing the ICT curriculum.

However, those on the ground tasked with executing this noble policy lament the lack of basic facilities necessary to fulfill the mandate. In today’s educational landscape, ICT is as fundamental as the traditional tools of education – the white chalk and blackboard – once were for policymakers during their own schooling.

In our contemporary education system, ICT is indispensable. Its absence not only impedes the impartation of education but also deprives many students of relevant learning experiences necessary for holistic development and competency. Recognizing the significance of ICT, numerous projects and flagship programmes have been launched with the aim of preparing young Bhutanese to confront the challenges of the 21st century and adapt to a rapidly evolving world. 

However, the realities reported by teachers and educators sharply contrast with these policies. Many schools grapple with deficiencies in basic resources such as computers, reliable internet connections, and trained teachers. Despite mandating the inclusion of the ICT curriculum as a compulsory subject from pre-primary to class XII, reports indicate a one-way flow of expectations, with schools lacking the necessary equipment to fulfill this mandate.

Feedback on the ICT curriculum underscores our shortcomings despite acknowledging its importance in 21st-century education. While it may be an exaggeration when a teacher from a remote primary school admits to knowing more about literal monkeys than about CodeMonkey – an educational coding platform for beginners – it starkly illustrates the obstacles faced. Many schools lack the infrastructure necessary for implementing such initiatives, including computers, ICT teachers, and laboratorie.

Efforts have been made to address these shortcomings by equipping schools with computers and reliable internet connections, but challenges persist. If we are genuinely committed to fostering ICT literacy and competitiveness among our students, we must reassess our priorities.

 Redirecting funds allocated for luxury items, for instance, like Toyota Prados towards purchasing computers could equip numerous schools with the resources needed to establish ICT laboratories and provide students with essential tools for learning. It is ironic that expatriate ICT teachers, hired to impart knowledge, find themselves unable to do so due to a lack of computers.

It is unjust to evaluate teachers based on their utilisation of IT lessons when they lack the necessary resources to effectively teach their students. This highlights a flaw in our policy implementation.