The government’s pledge to review school curriculum and to introduce student loans have been met.
The government in their pledge said that they would strengthen science, maths and language learning at the primary level. The ministry of education to ensure relevance and quality of education completed the curriculum review of all subjects for classes from PP to XII.
“We will introduce government subsidised loan schemes for students to pursue higher studies,” their pledge states.
Towards improving the quality of education, the ministry developed new curriculum for health and physical education (HPE) from classes PP to VI, which was then implemented from 2018. The ministry also introduced training in vocational education as optional subjects for class IX, and reviewed curriculum for Science, maths, English, Dzongkha, Commerce, and Social Sciences.
Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay presenting the state of the nation report stated that the review involved all teachers, educationists, dzongkhag education officers, experts, students, and parents. “I am proud to report that we now have a concrete roadmap for curriculum improvement. Such timely reviews and improvements are important and necessary to equip our children with the most relevant curricula in a rapidly changing and dynamic world.”
There are 9,600 teachers and 167,000 students in the country with a teacher-student ratio of 1:18. Lyonchhen said that while the teachers are putting their best efforts, we must support a continuous training programme for the teachers to bring them to speed with developments around the world in teaching methodology and curriculum development.
The ministry developed a teacher HR policy in 2014 and the in-service teacher master plan to strengthen teaching profession, enhance their image, and to attract and retain good teachers.
In 2016 and 2017, all teachers including those in private schools were provided professional development at a cost of Nu 215 million.
Some 9,591 teachers, vice principals, principals, dzongkhag and thromde education officers were trained in transformative paedagogy training.
Through such programmes, the lyonchhen said the government assures that teachers irrespective of whether teaching in private or public schools would be provided equal access to professional development.
The government as per their pledge also initiated interest free student loan scheme for tertiary education in 2014. 323 students had availed the loan scheme from 2014 to 2016 to study in Bhutan and India.
The online loan application allows students to apply for interest-free loans of up to Nu 300,000 per year.
Education Minister Norbu Wangchuk said that the scheme has benefited the children of underprivileged to realise their educational dreams.
“Pursuing higher education should not be a luxury for the privileged only, but for all our Bhutanese students,” lyonchhen said.
However, other pledges of the government such as introduction of entrepreneurship modules, art and music education in schools, and turning selected schools into centres of excellence in specific games and sports have not been fulfilled.