Yangchen C Rinzin

National Council (NC) members said the education ministry should trash the school ranking system as it is not benefitting schools as intended.

Members said that NC Good Governance Committee’s review report on programmes towards improving the quality of education clearly shows the ranking system was unfair and useless.

The committee had earlier recommended revisiting the current practice of the school ranking system to ensure that it adheres to its intended purpose.

School ranking system was introduced to serve as a support system to improve the ranking of low performing schools. The report was submitted to the NC on February 20.

Eminent member Karma Tshering said that going by the report there is a strong criticism on the ranking system and class assessments were manipulated to score better on the ranking.

“Such a system is not needed and the committee should look if this system achieved what it has aimed for,” Karma Tshering said. “Unless the review is to enhance the system, there is no use of such a system.”

Other members supported him saying that many schools or teachers have not benefited from the ranking system other than demotivating them.

“Education is not about competing among schools but encouraging students to learn,” Punakha NC member Lhaki Dolma said.

A committee member and NC member from Bumthang Nima said that since teachers have personally shared about the manipulation of class assessments themselves during the review, many did not support the ranking system.

“The committee will discuss again on the recommendation to do away with it or look into the change of criteria in awarding marks for this system, as shared by the members.”

Some of the members also recommended education ministry to provide adequate budgets to all schools, ECCD, improve facilities and infrastructure at ECCD centres, reviewing the education financing modalities, and distribution of teachers, as these contribute to the quality of education.

Members also suggested additional recommendations to the committee’s five recommendations like revisiting the government’s decisions to do away classes on Saturdays, to lower the PP admission age to 5 years, and no examination from Classes PP-III.

Lhuentse NC member Tempa Dorji said that the government despite concerns from the people went ahead and lowered the admission age without any study or research. “We need to look into this again to avoid any kind of problems in the future.”

Meanwhile, Haa NC member Ugyen Namgay said that all these issues are somehow related to the lack of education policy and education Act, which NC had earlier recommended enacting one, but never came through.

Ugyen Namgay said that policies are changed and new ones introduced because of lack of proper education policy and the government should have a policy at the earliest.

“It’s time NC remind the government again with the committee’s report, as these abrupt decisions are affecting the education system compromising education quality. The review process on the education sector should be a continuous process where the House would recommend the government as and when required.”

Eminent and committee member Tashi Wangmo said that these policies could be reviewed as a separate report and discuss in the next session. The committee members would re-deliberate for the final recommendations and adopt the report on Friday.