The education ministry is studying how best to remove the cut-off point for Class X students and enable them to continue studying until Class XII.

Education minister Jai Bir Rai said that the study is likely to take about six months to complete. “We should be able to roll out the programme latest by 2020,” he said.

The ministry’s study, the minister said, will review whether to increase the number of streams in higher secondary schools, if there is adequate infrastructure and the teacher-student ratio.

“We need to bring private sector on board if we don’t have enough of these,” he said.

He said that if the country continues with three streams of study in class XI, the same problems that exist today would continue.

Lyonchhen Dr Lotay Tshering said, “If there is no job market for those graduates from conventional streams in Class XI and XII, why can’t we diversify that and have professional courses at that level?”

The TVET curriculum will be reviewed and designed for the higher secondary level.

“We’re also studying whether we need to begin technical vocational education and training curriculum (TVET) like other streams in higher secondary schools,” Jai Bir Rai said.

In the end, he said that the graduates from colleges and schools have to have skills, knowledge and be employable.

Seven schools have been identified for TVET and will pilot the programme from 2020.    

Lyonpo Jai Bir Rai said there would be no legal issue as there will be no cut off.

He said the ministry has the cut off point because of lack of facilities. “If there are enough infrastructure, then there will be no cut off point, so there should not be any issue,” he said.

As far as possible, the ministry is going to increase facilities, he said. “The students will choose the various options of study after the streams are increased on merit basis and the cut off points won’t be there.”

Lyonpo said that making decision on education policies needs thorough scrutiny and analysis as it involves thousands of lives and the future of the country.

DNT had pledged to remove the present system of cut-off point in Class X to allow students to continue until class XII. This according to the party would raise the basic education to Class XII and save numerous issues for our youth. “Today, more than 50 percent of students who pass Class X leave schools due to limited support from the state after that,” the manifesto stated.  

This change is expected to galvanise the entire system and change expectations, so young students stay on in learning beyond Class X, not just because it is compulsory, but because they can see the benefits. 

Prime Minister Lotay Tshering said that the pass mark for class X is 35 percent and entrance to class XI is more than 50s and there are many students, class X pass out, who fall in this huge gap.

“I find it unfair and these students are only 15 or 16 years old,” lyonchhen said. “I feel bad from the social as well as legal point of view for a 15 year old to go look for jobs.”

Lyonchhen said that this change in policy is in keeping with the change of time. However, the government will raise the pass mark and the opportunity to go to class XI should be there for everyone.

Tshering Palden