The draft has been submitted to the GNHC
To provide directions for building and nurturing an education system, the Ministry of Education has formulated National Education Policy 2018, which would make education more relevant for changing needs and expectations.
According to the draft policy, it will inform and guide all forms and levels of education in Bhutan, public and private, to support the aspirations of the government. It includes early childhood, monastic, tertiary, training, non-formal, and continuing education.
The policy states that under the school education, among many policy statements, the ministry, dzongkhags and schools should maintain a class size of maximum of 24 for primary and 30 for secondary levels.
“Schools shall put in place appropriate measures for students with special educational needs across all grades,” the policy states. “Schools shall not collect any form of fee or contribution from students/families other than fees approved by the ministry.”
The draft also proposes that all the schools shall have an inclusive disaster management and preparedness plan and students shall attend academic sessions in national dress as a standard school uniform.
Under the curriculum, the policy states that the curriculum will be designed to develop sound foundation in literacy, numeracy and language, and English shall be the medium of instruction in schools.
School curriculum should strengthen Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) to promote creativity and innovation.
“Any school curriculum revision and reform shall follow the standard curriculum development cycle. There shall be an independent professional body responsible for the development of school curriculum,” the draft states.
To improve student learning, the policy will look into assessment and examinations. The policy statement states that it will inform students, teachers, parents and stakeholders about students’ learning achievements.
If the draft comes through, an independent professional body will be responsible for standardised assessment and examinations, including certifications, protocols, and regulation.
Among the many policy statements under the accreditation and quality assurance, the ministry will assess the quality of and accredit private and international schools while a quality assurance and accreditation body will assess the quality of and accredit Tertiary Education Institutes.
“A comprehensive framework, shall be developed, maintained and periodically reviewed to recognize equivalency of assessment results or certification of students studying outside Bhutan,” the draft states.
According to the policy, the ministry will provide incentives to attract and retain education personnel in remote locations, high altitudes, and boarding schools, and efficient deployment systems will be put in place to ensure all educational institutes are adequately staffed with appropriately trained and competent personnel.
The ministry under this policy also plans to create an autonomous governing body under the ministry that would maintain and regulate the teaching profession and promote professional standards through functions such as certifications, registration, and licensing.
The policy also demands all teachers to refrain from providing private tuition and school to provide in-school support for those students who require learning support.
The maximum number of classroom contact hours for full-time teachers in a week will range from 18 to 22. Maximum shall depend on school circumstance and location as stated in the draft policy. The ministry will also maintain teacher workload guidelines and regularly review.
The guidelines will include number of subjects a teacher shall teach, classroom contact hours, and a teachers’ scope of responsibilities.
The draft policy, which was endorsed during the Sherig Conference held from December 27 to December 31 last year, has been submitted to the Gross National Happiness Commission to be reviewed.
Yangchen C Rinzin