Yangki from Chapcha has spent the last 17 years as a Non-Formal Education (NFE) instructor in her community.

Internet and computer were rare when she took on the job in 2000 after completing Class 10.

Although an instructor, she never had an email address. “I didn’t know how to create one,” Yangki said.

A few days ago, the 37-year-old created her first email address. An ICT session from the ongoing capacity building workshop for NFE instructors on “21st-century teaching pedagogy and andragogy” helped Yangki to have her first email address.

“I would send reports from my email now,” she said.

The Korean National Commission funded the capacity building workshop for UNESCO (KNCU), under “Bridge Bhutan Project, 2018.” Chukha, Samtse, Mongar, Trashigang, and Pemagatshel are identified for the workshop. The five dzongkhags were chosen based on the number of instructors and adult literacy rate.

In Chukha, 25 NFE instructors participated.

A senior programme officer with Non-Formal and Continuing Education (NFCE) division of department of adult and higher education, Pelden said the workshop was held to give participants an opportunity to learn differently.

“It is for teamwork as well as to enhance individual participation,” she said.

Pelden said vocal instructors would always interact and speak up, while the shy ones would be left out.

The programme officer also said that the workshop aims at changing the traditional teaching method NFE instructors used.

“Listening-speaking and reading-writing are the focus,” Pelden said. “Instructors are also reminded on NFE policies, rules and responsibilities.”

Place-based education approach and yearly lesson planning were also discussed.

Kezang Dema, 26, who started working as an instructor seven months ago, said she had never attended such training.

“I was blank when I started,” she said, adding she faced problems in planning her lessons. “It was also difficult to engage adult learners.”

The Class 12 graduate said the workshop is timely and significant in building her capacity as an instructor. Kezang Dema is an NFE instructor in Darla (Tala).

Another participant, Choetu Namgay, 37, said the workshop has equipped him with different teaching styles.

The Class 10 graduate teaches in Sinchula, Darla, and plans to upgrade his education.

“I would like to do distance learning and complete Class 12,” he said. “I will continue the job.”

The oldest NFE instructor at the workshop, Serchung, 73 said there was a huge difference from the way he taught and the methods he learned at the workshop. Serchung has been an NFE instructor since 1993.

“I got new teaching skills now,” he said.

The instructor also said he would continue teaching in NFE as long as he can. He would stop only when the government asks him to, he said.

Serchung is an NFE instructor at Damji village of Bongo gewog, Chukha.

Vice principal of Gedu Higher Secondary School, Tsheten Dorji, a trainer at the workshop said trainings have changed the instructors.

“They are more open and vocal now,” he said. “There are a lot of interactions.”

Given an opportunity, the trainer said that NFE instructors are keen and quick learners.

The weeklong workshop concludes today. Of the, 25 participants, 17 are female instructors.

Rajesh Rai  | Phuentsholing