… Instructional classes on Saturday was done away in 2019

Yangchen C Rinzin  

Beginning next Saturday May 22 all schools can resume instructional classes following the education ministry’s decision to resume “half working day” on Saturday.

Calling it as a necessary step, the decision is to ensure that school administrations use Saturday to conduct bridging lessons to make up for the learning loss last year.

With the education sector hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic, Classes PP-VIII remained closed for the entire academic session last year losing instructional classes. Lessons were conducted online through Education in Emergency without contact teaching. Students were promoted based on online learning records maintained by teachers.

The education ministry had done away with the instructional classes on Saturdays from the 2019 academic session. The decision was endorsed through a show of hands during the 19th annual education conference held in December 2018 in Phuentsholing.

Department of School and Education’s Director General Karma Galay said that although it was not decided if resuming instructional classes on Saturdays would be a permanent decision or not, it was important that teachers be given the opportunity to use Saturday for remedial classes.

“The decision was looked at largely to benefit for bridging because many students were promoted without proper learning from the previous class,” Karma Galay said. “Having classes to make up for lost lessons was important right now.”

Issued on May 14, the notification from the education ministry mentioned that resuming half day on Saturday would compensate if schools lose instructional time during this academic session.

“It would also coordinate remedial lessons and accelerate learning initiatives to help those academically weaker students,” the notification stated. “Class teachers should organise mentor and mentee initiatives to support the psychological wellbeing and other learning needs of students.”

However, schools would be allowed to continue to conduct professional development (PD) programmes for teachers and organise routine co-curricular and extracurricular activities as and when appropriate.

Of the 80 hours in a year designed for professional development, 40 hours is national professional development, which is conducted by the ministry during winter breaks and another 20 hours are conducted by the dzongkhag.

Doing away with Saturday classes was one of the pledges of the Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa.