Inadequate technology, ICT and analytical skills, professionalism, innovation and creativity, and conflict resolution skills were some of the leadership competency gaps identified among school leaders according to the Competency Framework for Principals developed in 2018.

In the light of the renewed emphasis on education through the Royal Kasho issued by His Majesty The King during the 113th National Day and with a view to address the leadership competency gaps in school leaders, Royal Institute for Governance and Strategic Studies (RIGSS), in collaboration with the Ministry of Education(MoE), launched the School Leaders Development Programme (SLDP) for all school leaders in the country on May 30.

Through workshops and thematic discussions, a two-week leadership course would foster understanding among school leaders on the changing education landscape and the future of education. It would also provide the participants a platform to contribute to the larger discourse on education reforms. Leadership experts and trainers both from home and abroad are conducting the course through in-person and virtual sessions.

Twenty-five school leaders  from schools across the country are attending the inaugural SLDP course.

Given the Covid-19 restrictions and quarantine requirements in Phuentsholing, the course is held at the Royal Audit Authority’s Professional Development Centre in Tsirang.

The Director with RIGSS, Chewang Rinzin said that the role of school leaders in shaping the larger vision of our education system through the leadership they provide in their respective schools is paramount.

“Like leadership in any organisation, the school leader is responsible for providing direction, setting goals and building the right culture and capabilities at the individual school level so that the larger national vision of education can be realised collectively,” he said. Strengthening school leadership through training and development, he said, is a critical aspect of education reforms.

To enable  children stay ahead and relevant, and to fulfil our national aspirations, he said that Bhutan and its education system must keep pace with the rapid changes taking place in the world. “The education we provide should make our children future-ready and worthy citizens.”

To assess course participants on their awareness and understanding of key national issues, intellectual and analytical abilities, language and communication skills, knowledge and cognitive competency, RIGSS would introduce an assessment component in its programme for the first time.

The introduction of assessment as a part of the course is also expected to promote seriousness in learning and participation while using some aspects for feedback purposes during the course, and also to identify talents.

The course participants will also be required to develop Individual Action Plans (IAPs) during the course. The IAPs, for 6-12 months, are intended to help participants plan how they will apply the learning from the training in their respective schools.

The IAPs, if implemented well, is expected to enable participants to bring about positive transformation in their schools.

The institute also has a plan to provide refresher programs in between to ensure the continuity of learning and its application.

The deliberations will be moderated and the proposals or recommendations of the school leaders will be compiled and shared with the MoE and the Education Reform Council.

Inaugurating the launch of the leadership course, Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering urged the participants to develop key skills necessary for providing effective school leadership and create a professional network to bring about positive transformation in their respective schools through application of what was learnt during the training.

“The success of the training would solely depend on the performance of alumni,” Lyonchhen said.

Meanwhile, the institute would train around 500 school leaders covering all principals and officiating principal in the next one and half years.

By Chimi Dema | Tsirang

Edited by Jigme Wangchuk