However, PM says the change in assessment is necessary to ensure quality education

Phurpa Lhamo

About 15 percent of the students who appeared final exams this year have failed.

This year, more than 140,000 students of IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, and XI grades appeared the exams with new assessment criteria.

This means that more than 21,000 students failed this year.

However, the increase in the failure percentage is contrary to what has been speculated and posted on social media platforms.

According to Lyonchhen Dr Lotay Tshering, the increase is between three to four percent from past years. Fail percentage, he said, has been between 10 and 13 percent in the past.

The new criteria requires the students between classes IV and XII to score 40 percent each in continuous assessments (CA) and on written examinations.

The education ministry is currently compiling the reports and assessing the fail percentage in continuous assessment and the end examination.

Class X and XII students and students from two schools are yet to take their examinations.

At the meet-the-press yesterday, Lyonchhen Dr Lotay Tshering said that the quality of the education couldn’t be improved with a single activity. He added that increasing the pass marks from 40, 50, and gradually to 65 percent would be the correct path for the education system.

The importance of the education sector has been reiterated several times.

The State of the Nation 2021 states: “Our focus is now on reforming the education system in line with the visions of the Royal kasho granted by His Majesty The King during 113th National Day celebration last year.”

Initiated by His Majesty The King, the Bhutan Baccalaureate (BB)—a unique education system—was also introduced in Druk Gyalpoi Institute (DGI) in Pangbisa 10 years ago.

A memorandum of understanding was signed this year to try the concept in Wangbama Central School and Dechencholing Higher Secondary School.

Lyonchhen said that 20 schools would introduce the system this year—one each from a dzongkhag. “When this (BB) comes in, I think that the 40 percent pass mark wouldn’t be enough.”

Lyonchhen reiterated that for students graduating from schools in Bhutan to be recognised internationally, the current pass marks wouldn’t be enough. “If we are to improve the quality, the assessment criteria should be kept. There is no looking back.”

Teachers have welcomed the new assessment criteria.

A teacher said that in the past, students could pass the CA with guidance from the teachers and many students gave little importance to the end exams.

“With the new assessment criteria, students will be more focused,” she said.