Education is the bedrock of any country.
Therefore, efforts to further improve and solidify this foundation must be a constant activity.
The current effort to transform the pedagogy is one such activity that is currently being pursued and one that must be carefully introduced.
The purpose of education in Bhutan is changing and therefore the realisation that the pedagogy has to be changed. We are aware that the goal of education is not simply to produce a workforce inundated with large volumes of facts but a population that is equipped with the right tools to continuously educate themselves.
Therefore, the pedagogy is changing to one that will become more horizontal in terms of information flow and participation, rather than a lecture based top-down approach.
It is important that no matter what personality, or background, a student has, that he or she is equally involved in the classroom through customised measures. And that involvement cannot simply remain as vessels to be filled, but fires to be kindled.
But it is important that this new pedagogy is introduced at a pace that the students can understand. It mustn’t be sudden.
It is also important to ensure that the environment outside the classroom also changes. For instance, the colleges of education that are producing teachers need to be aligned with the education ministry on this change. It seems they are currently not.
It is so important that the teachers who will be behind the wheel on this transition, understand how and why this change needs to occur. We can’t risk failure as a result of lack of coordination or incompatibility.
Some have asked that the curriculum or syllabus be reviewed to fit the new pedagogy. These are urgent issues that need to be sorted out. Teachers need to be comfortable and convinced that everything is moving in the same direction.
Large classrooms cannot be avoided which means there may have to be a rethink on the curriculum and decreasing the volume of information, and concentrating on less but with more exercises. This could increase the level of understanding among students and the quality of education as a result.
In all, the transition is inevitable and most welcome for those of us who got through on memorisation. It is a comfort to know that our children, and future generations will be graduating with better tools to analyse, question, and find solutions to situations and problems.