A new social studies curriculum will incorporate the cultural heritage values and focus on a process driven learning.

This was discussed at the two-day consultation meeting, which started in Thimphu yesterday.

Officials from Department of Culture (DoC), Royal Education Council (REC), and education sector are attending the consultation meeting.

The collaboration between DoC and REC began this January in Gelephu with deliberation and reviewing of topics and content related to cultural heritage, which is to be included in social studies subject.

DoC’s project coordinator, Yeshi Samdrup, said that the inclusion of cultural heritage in social studies subject would cover mostly the intangible part of cultural heritage like Tha Damtshi and Ley Judrey. “This is to impart knowledge to youth on how we function as a close-knit community and play a vital role in the unity of the community, thus resulting in unity of the nation.”

The new curriculum for social studies is for class IV, V and VI.

The framework developed by REC and DoC was presented at the consultation meeting yesterday, which also includes topics such as Driglam Namzha, the significance of religious instruments and holy places, lhakhangs and folk beliefs.

DoC’s director general, Karma Weezir, said drastic socio-economic development and globalisation has posed tremendous pressure to the protection of cultural heritage. “Awareness of cultural heritage is critical in providing the platform for the people to understand the authentic values related to cultural heritage. Youth have always played a pivotal role in any important national activities.”

The framework will now be used as a guide to producing a new textbook for the social studies subject.

REC will develop a provisional edition textbook in collaboration with DoC, which will be subject to revision.

Dean of REC, Wangpo Tenzin, said that the new social studies curriculum is oriented toward being process learning with case studies, activities, and group works.

He added that the curriculum includes contents that will engage the students in activities and help them understand and appreciate the community. “We focus on the type of skills to learn through this topic. It is aimed to make children analyse and develop skills through various activities instead of just having context knowledge.”

REC has worked with stakeholders such as National Environment Commission, experts from Gedu College of Business Studies, Revenue and Customs and from vocational centres to develop various education curriculums in the past.

The new social studies text will be available by 2020.

Phurpa Lhamo