Phurpa Lhamo

A nation-wide orientation programme for teachers across Bhutan will be held in April to better equip teachers in teaching the National School Curriculum (earlier known as the New Normal Curriculum).

The National School Curriculum (NSC) was introduced last year as a response to the pandemic situation. The curriculum focused on teaching students “why and how” rather than “what” of learning which is aimed at competency development.

With the implementation of NSC for the first time in the 2021 academic year, gaps and opportunities to improve was observed.

Education ministry’s Department of Curriculum and Professional Development’s dean and curriculum developer, Wangpo Tenzin, said that there were challenges of internet connectivity, especially in rural areas, lack of orientation for teachers to properly deliver the competency-based curriculum, and in the assessment of the students in the new curriculum.

“We hope it will be resolved over the time,” he said.

When the NSC was first introduced, teachers across Bhutan were confused with the implementation process.

A primary school teacher said that because the new curriculum is mostly ICT-based, many teachers without IT knowledge suffered.

Another major challenge in the implementation of the NSC last year was the assessment tools used. Despite following the NSC, students across Bhutan were assessed with the assessment tools of the past.

Wangpo Tenzin said that with NSC, assessment is grounded on competency-based education theory with much emphasis on competency. Students should be assessed on various elements of cogitative, emotional, intellectual and physical components.

“Competency can be seen with pen and paper assessment as well, but what we cannot assess and what has been lacking earlier is that we haven’t been giving any emphasis to emotional, and psychosocial development,” Wangpo Tenzin said.

Despite challenges, the curriculum is welcomed. 

A teacher said that through NSC, both teachers and students learn and grow as it involves research and using materials from various platforms.

The issues observed in the implementation of the NSC would be discussed and addressed in the face-to-face orientation, which will be held in clusters across Bhutan.

The orientation programme would be held before schools open in April 25. Funded by the World Bank, Nu 180 million has been secured for the orientation.

Meanwhile, the education ministry also launched the revised curriculum frameworks for all subjects.

“The current version of NSC is expected to enable our teachers to provide learning experiences that will augment the growth of competencies of intellectual, performance and behavioural dispositions in our children,” stated the launching statement issued on the social media page of the education ministry.