Although World History for Class XI went textbook-less last year, most teachers and students are yet to adapt to the new system owing to poor access to Internet and reference books.

However, most History teachers Kuensel spoke to said students were getting used to studying the subject without a textbook, provided references were made available. Some teachers say that even teachers are yet to get used to the system. 

Royal Education Council (REC) implemented the textbook-less curriculum to provide students the ownership of learning, enable teachers to teach History beyond a single perspective based-textbook and to create interactive learning, among others.  

Curriculum developer Thukten Jamtsho said it was a shift from traditional teacher-centric to students-centric learning where teachers would be more of facilitators. 

“Earlier, World History textbook was based on the book written by one author, which didn’t leave room for students’ opinion or to learn beyond the textbook,” he said. “But with going textbook-less, it is expected that students would study beyond, work and discuss among themselves in a group and in an interactive manner.”

Thukten Jamtsho added that the World History curriculum framework would guide the learning scope, which contains learning outcomes and objectives. The framework has broad goals, learning outcomes, and different learning key stages for different classes. Learning objectives are specific for each class (PP-XII). 

“It is the main tool, which guides the delivery of the lessons in the class, specific topics and the sub-topics to be taught, including the length and breadth of the content,” Thukten Jamthso said. 

He said there was nothing to worry about examination. Textbooks were the basis for examination in the past, but now it would be the curriculum framework. The BCSEA would set questions based on the same framework students and teachers refer to. 

Although teachers are trained and are given the framework to follow how to teach the subject without textbook, a few said that it was sometime difficult to teach with little references, especially in rural schools. 

“Teachers are also connected through WeChat, enabling them to interact and seek suggestions. REC also helps us,” a teacher from a private school said. “We are yet to see how Class 12 students will sit the paper.”

While accepting that teachers and students face difficulties finding resources, Thukten Jamtsho said that REC has provided e-books to those schools that do not have good access to Internet. “REC will suggest reference books on teachers’ request but the freedom is fully vested on teachers concerned and learners to choose from among the references.”

He added that a research project was introduced to allow students to choose the topic of their interest and write a history on it based on their perspective and interpretation. “By the end of Class 12, it is expected that learners be equipped with basic research skills. This would benefit students to handle any research at any tertiary institute.” 

Some of the challenges teachers shared were lack of IT laboratory and computers for children to browse for references.  

“Although there is a need for children to carry gadgets, it contradicts with school’s rule,” a history teacher of a government school said. “Presentations are made through a projector and we’ve requested management for one.”

Having to spend so much time preparing lessons, most History teachers said that additional history periods would be helpful. 

“Otherwise, it takes time to finish just one topic. If resources are available, Internet connectivity is good, and if there are enough computers, textbook-less teaching helps students concentrate better and develop interest in the subject,” said a teacher.

Yangchen C Rinzin