Following a circular issued by the Royal Education Council (REC) to schools to conduct examinations on environmental science (EVS), the ministry of education issued a letter on October 13 clarifying that there should be no EVS examination.

Instead, the letter states that the subject should be infused with English and Dzongkha subjects without losing its essence. EVS was dropped as  a subject from this academic session as was decided during the 18th national education conference in January this year.

The conference had endorsed a proposal for the EVS subject in classes PP-III to be merged into the Dzongkha and English subjects.

The objective was to provide children with a stronger foundation in language and numeracy.

The August 30 REC letter had initially confused school principals after it stated that since the council is still developing the EVS curriculum guidelines, the school should frame the question paper and conduct EVS exam.

Most principals Kuensel spoke to said that teachers were confused since EVS was never taught as a separate subject.

One of the principals, who wished to remain anonymous, asked how they would frame the questions and if it should be in English or Dzongkha.

“We were more confused when we received the letter from the education ministry, which stated that there shall be no examination,” another principal said.

Few principals said that the school decided to follow the recent circular instead of REC’s while others said they were still discussing on which circular to follow.

However, MoE’s school planning and coordination division’s officiating chief, Kaka, said all schools should go by the recent circular and that there shall be no EVS examination. He said the letter was issued to clarify the confusion.

“The REC letter could be a mistake but it was very clear from the conference resolution that EVS was removed as a subject,” he said. “When there is no EVS as a subject how would a school conduct the examination.”

Kaka added that MoE was not aware of the REC circular and learnt about it after some principals raised it to the education minister during his recent visit to the east.

“Then we immediately issued the circular to all the schools. The schools faculties should not be confused and should follow the latest circular from MoE, which would supersede the other circular.”

Lyonpo Norbu Wangchuk in a telephone interview said that after the issue was raised, the ministry revoked REC’s letter, which they found was vague. “There will be no EVS examination for sure. They should infuse EVS with English and Dzongkha subjects as it is now.”

REC officials could not be contacted for comments.

Yangchen C Rinzin