Yangchen C Rinzin 

Today is the third day after schools reopened but teachers are unsure as to how and what they should teach.

Teachers have been asked to adopt new normal curriculum for Classes PP-XII from 2021 academic session.

Many teachers were shocked when they learned about the New Normal Curriculum (NNC) 2021. Others are confused about what to make of the new curriculum.

Although many support the idea of a new normal curriculum, teachers say that the approach is not appropriate. Teachers, they argue, were not consulted for the development of the curriculum.

While a few teachers were involved in developing the curriculum for different subjects, many questioned selection of teachers who were involved in the development of NNC 2021.

“I feel that our curriculums are moving at the whims and fancies of our curriculum developers,” a teacher from Zhemgang said. “Teachers will find it challenging unless they are thoroughly oriented and the objectives of the curriculum are clearly communicated.”

The NNC, according to the Royal Education Council, is aimed at going beyond textbook, using websites and reference books for conceptual knowledge and information and for the intellectual, physical and emotional engagement of learners.

The department of education said that the framework for NNC for each subject was available on its website. It also mentioned that NNC is an attempt to direct education to competency-based learning.

The department has directed schools to begin teaching and learning using the draft copies of the framework document. Hard copies would be delivered to remote schools. Soft copies of the framework for Classes IX-XII will be delivered by March.

The framework would inform the design, content, pedagogical approaches, and assessment system of the NNC instruction guide for all subjects.

A teacher from Wangdue said that many schools did not have adequate resources to pull through and teachers were not ready without enough ICT rooms or facilities.

“We already have many issues with the internet, which was vivid last year when conducting online education,” a teacher from Trashigang said. “We’re worried as to whether we would be able to handle the curriculum appropriately.”

Many teachers say that while a change is needed, such drastic change could only invite problems. They recommend proper consultation and review before implementing the curriculum.

“Both adapted and priority curriculum were developed in an emergency, which we can understand, and we had to deliver. They do everything and decide to plonk in everything for teachers to implement. When it fails, teachers are blamed,” a teacher from Punakha said.

A teacher from a private school in Thimphu said that it was not clear whether the NNC had contents that would address the Royal concern on education quality.

Some teachers said that many schools faced problems related to class size and student number. In the public schools especially it is difficult to manage more than 30 students even with the prescribed curriculum, they say.

“It’ll be difficult to deal with NNC that will require personal guidance for each student,” a teacher from Chukha said. “Going textbook-less is a good decision, but we must first have resources and infrastructure to support the change”

The education ministry is preparing to train trainers to orient teachers on the NNC instructional guide.