Yangchen C Rinzin 

The National Council’s Good Governance Committee reported that the criteria used for rating schools in school ranking system was unfair and has demotivated principals and teachers of low ranked schools.

Presenting the review report of programme initiatives towards improving the quality of education, Dagana NC and committee member, Surjaman Thapa said the school ranking system was introduced to serve as a support system to improve ranking of low performing schools.

“The ranking criteria, which is based on academic learning score, enabling practices at schools and GNH has come under criticism from teachers and school principals,” Surjaman Thapa said. “It has also shown that the practice of ranking school using academic performance was unfair.”

The report also stated that class assessments were manipulated so that both the school and teachers would receive better performance ratings.

“Manipulation and demotivated teachers would lead to poor learning outcomes of students that would affect the quality of education in the long run,” Surjaman Thapa said.

The committee recommended the government to revisit the current practice of school ranking system to ensure that its implementation would not deviate from its intended purpose.

The committee also reported that there was inadequate budgetary support for primary education services to procure teaching learning materials and to implement other school-based initiatives. The report stated that there were several instances where budget meant for one purpose was utilised for other activities.

It also recommended the government to ensure adequate provision of facilities and tools for effective implementation of any new or revised curriculum to have timely orientation for teachers on curriculum and other support services.

The committee’s report also recommended exploring possibilities of reviving the Centenary Institute of Education that was discontinued in 2016, or strengthen the existing Royal Education Council to assume the responsibility of designing and delivery of professional development programmes of teachers.

Although the education minister emphasised on Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) and create access to quality ECCD, the committee observed that there were gaps in ensuring 74 percent of children aged 3-5 years having access to ECCD.

Committee member and eminent member, Tashi Wangmo, said the government should expedite the expansion of access to ECCD centres to attain 100 percent before 2030 and enhance Bhutan Education Blueprint’s target on ECCD coverage from 50 percent by 2024.

Today, there are 379 existing ECCD centres (319 public and 60 private) in the country with a total enrolment of 8,743 children.

Some members said that the committee should have also considered looking into the impact of starting central schools, government’s decision on doing away with Class X cut-off point, issues raised by the private schools, and doing away examination for Classes PP-III.

Committee member and Bumthang NC, Nima, said that the ministry has already worked out on the issue pertaining to central school and since it has been just a year since the cut-off policy was implemented, the committee decided that it would not give accurate report on the impact of such decisions.

The committee decided to conduct a study on doing away with examination from classes PP to III at a later date.

The House will continue the deliberation on the report on February 26.