Gov’t exploring to give a tablet phone each to student: PM

To compliment Learning Management System 

Yangchen C Rinzin 

The Ministry of Education is developing Learning Management System (LMS), an e-learning platform, to prepare the ministry to tackle situations like the ones Covid-19 has brought about.

LMS will be virtual teaching accessible to all students.

However, to use the LMS effectively, students will require a device, which is why the ministry has prepared a proposal to submit to the prime minister to explore the possibility of issuing tablets to about 173,000 (PP-XII) students in the country.

Education Minister Jai Bir Rai said that ministry would make a presentation this week. The proposal is to ensure that there is no disparity among students, which was evident when schools had to be closed and the ministry initiated e-learning.

Lyonchhen Dr Lotay Tshering said; “We haven’t decided anything on this. I’ll wait for the proposal.”

Lyonchhen said that the digital divide in the past meant the difference between who knew how to operate a computer and who did not or who had access to a computer and not. “Digital divide now means who knows to code and who does not.”

It was time to change and to provide a tablet to each student, he said. “I don’t feel there is anything wrong in giving a tablet each to students, because it’s necessary now.”

Lyonchhen said that education must evolve with time. 

“Today, we don’t have room for students to learn beyond textbooks. Students who can answer what’s prescribed in the textbook are considered as intelligent.”

The outcome, he said, would be positive. “I would approve such initiatives from the education ministry because it has the potential to help the students who can’t afford.”

The ministry, while preparing the proposal, has been advised to look into the possibility of providing tablets first to students who cannot afford the device. The ministry already has a list of about 30,000 disadvantaged students.

“We’re working on this and other alternatives,” Lyonpo Jai Bir Rai said.

The ministry is also looking into the possibility of giving LMS .gov.bt domain and intranet facility so that students can access learning materials anytime.

“The ministry is ready to help in whatever ways we can,” Lyonchhen said.

Meanwhile, the ministry is yet to decide whether the students of Classes PP-VI of Phuentsholing should be kept in a containment zone.

“The ministry can decide on this,” Lyonchhen said, adding that the ministry however should ensure that boarders and day scholars do not mingle on the campus.

Student of Classes VII-XII would be distributed among different schools in different dzongkhags.

Lyonpo JB Rai said that the ministry was looking into the possibility of keeping one school campus as a hostel and another as a day scholar campus so that students do not mix.

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