Ministry of Education has a plan to provide one laptop every teacher in the 12th Five-Year Plan period. This was one of the resolutions of Sherig Conference that was held from December 27 to 31 in Sonamthang Central School, Zhemgang.

Education Secretary Karma Yeshey said that providing a laptop was to harness the power of information and communication technology (ICT) and to enhance the quality of teaching and learning process.

Education Minister Norbu Wangchuk said that with laptop teachers would not have to plan daily lesson manually and could have access to a wide range of resources.

“This will also give a sense of care to a teacher,” said Lyonpo.

Thimphu’s Chief Dzongkhag Education Officer, Tashi Namgyal, said all the schools would be connected with the Internet by the end of 12th Plan and providing a laptop would help leverage internet services to enhance teaching capacity.

Karma Yeshey said that some of the resolutions ministry came up with were reviving national education assessment at three stages (III, VI and X) periodically in order to gauge the learning standard of students and development programme on basic counselling for teachers.

“The ministry aims to increase access to ECCD programmes to at least 50 percent of 3-5 year old children as decided in the conference and establish one ECCD centre in every Chiwog by 2030,” said Karma Yeshey. “The ministry aims to provide adequate number of staff quarters in the 12th Plan to ensure that at least 80 percent of teachers reside in the school campus.”

He added the conference also endorsed the idea of proposing differentiated curriculum by Royal Education Council, which would be presented in detail at the next conference.

“This differentiated curriculum is particularly looking at grade IX and X where for instance ministry can have different curriculum for those students who are not interested in taking a particular subject,” Karma Yeshey said. “For instance, if a student likes Mathematics subject, then there can be a different or advanced mathematics programme to take up.”

Lyonpo Norbu Wangchuk said that every child is different with different aptitude and education system must respond to this difference. “It may not happen soon, but this is an initiative and effort that ultimately good education system must move on to. This is just a proposal.”

The conference also decided to revise school opening date for classes PP-III, which will commence from February 13 this year.

To enhance career progression of the principals, the conference recommended the ministry to provide principals’ automatic promotion to P1 from P2 level based on competency and performance. The recommendation would be submitted to the RCSC.

Chukha’s Chief Dzongkhag Education Officer, Kinley Gyeltshen, said as of now when principals reach P2 level, they have to compete in open interview to get to P1 level.  “To boost the morale of the principals, the ministry decided to look into all the possible supports from RCSC.”

Karma Yeshey added that because the competition for P1 level was limited, some were happy but some were not.

“This created snubbing affect that when one was able to fill up the P1 level, there was vacancy created elsewhere and there was no end to it,” he said. “This also demoralised other principals in the system.”

To extend educational services for children with special education needs, the ministry aims to establish at least one school with a special education needs programme in each dzongkhag or thromde by the end of the 12th Plan.

The conference also endorsed the draft national education policy in principle, which would be submitted to GNHC for endorsement.

Yangchen C Rinzin