Quality has been the centrepiece of national debate on education for quite some time now.
Structural changes were made several times along the way and the process, as it must, continues.
There are still those who maintain all’s well with the system; there are others who disagree.
However, it is perhaps just as well that we keep talking about the quality of education—it means we are all deeply concerned about the future of our nation.
It should not be hard to accept that Bhutan’s education system has remained beleaguered for a long time and that well-meant interventions mostly have been misplaced.
We often talk about 21st century education but we have not been able to move significantly to catch up with time. The wind of change seems to be blowing at long last, however.
Bhutan Council for School Examination and Assessment’s (BCSEA) national education assessment, which is in the process of being drafted, promises to locate the cancers in our education system.
At one point of time we even had to adopt or subscribe to a system of learning assessment called programme for international students assessment. That was at best an act of desperation because we did not have a homegrown system to gauge the learning abilities of our own children.
This international assessment system, though expensive, does not reflect the true needs of the nation educational aspirations. BCSEA’s education assessment system so comes with a lot promises.
Done it right, it can take care of a lot of gaps in the system that have been rendering the education system handicap all these many years.
What this system can do in the long run is link all the systems together and eliminate the many duplications, which the teachers and education officials say is the source of malady that is killing the school education system.
Blue print and small guidelines besides Bhutan does not have an education policy still. That is the principal reason why our education journey has been difficult—often anachronistic.
BCSEA’s assessment system can inform pedagogical shift, resource allocation, curriculum development and teacher training even, among others. If we must define, and these put together, makes the Bhutanese education system that is relevant to the changing times.
BCSEA’s education assessment system is in a draft stage. Consultations are being carried out. It is important that BCSEA makes extra effort to reach out to every section of our population.
Because education is a system wherein we are all stakeholders and equal partners somehow, consultation ought to be taken far and wide. Only then will our education dream succeed.