The Education Minister, Lyonpo Norbu Wangchuk, presented the milestones achieved in the field of education from 2013 to 2018. He also revealed the key challenges by the ministry within the five years.
From counting 172, 391 students in the 10th Five Year Plan (FYP), the number of students decreased to 168,092 in the 11th FYP. However, the number of teachers increased from 8,542 in 10th FYP to 9, 415 in 11th FYP, according to the State of Education report.
The total budget allotted increased from Nu 28.27 bn in the 10th FYP to Nu 43.70 bn in the 11th FYP. The school enrolment rate increased from 96 percent to 98 percent in the 11th FYP. Literacy rate also increased from 63 percent in the 10th FYP to 71.4 percent in 11th FYP. “The increase in the number of teachers, enrolment and literacy rates are all good signs,” Lyonpo said.
He said, “His Majesty said that education is most important in the development of the country. Education system has served us well, but we must understand that times have changed, the world has changed, and even Bhutan has changed. We cannot face new challenges with the same tools, we must adopt new ideas and techniques.”
Lyonpo said the educational reform comprises of schools, teachers and curricula. “At present, we have 63 central schools, 40 autonomous schools, 1 armed force school, 16 special schools, 4 colleges, 307 Early Centre for Child Development (ECCD) and 5 youth centres.”
According to the Education Minister, due importance was given to the curriculum development, whereby, the education ministry initiated national curriculum review and 9 curriculum framework apart from primary education focus.
Lyonpo said, “We have reintroduced Shakespeare in the curriculum, promoted performing arts and organized the national drama festival, where more than 50 schools participated.”
He further said, “The government places the highest importance to preserve and promote Dzongkha, and in order to promote Dzongkha, Dzongkha subject should be taught only by a Dzongkha teacher, and passing in Dzongkha language paper is compulsory, and no pass certificate shall be awarded to any candidate who does not secure the minimum passing mark. The ministry also emphasized on recruitment of more Dzongkha teachers.”
He also said the ministry have initiated reduction of teacher’s workload, shed administrative roles such as warden, matron, caregiver, accountant and librarian and reviewed Individual Work Pan (IWP) for teachers and submitted it to the Royal Civil service Commission (RCSC).
He said, “The ministry have also instituted one teacher- one subject rule, financed 120 research projects and initiated master programs.”
Lyonpo said that the National Reading program initiated by His Majesty The King is one of the major programs in school, and one student reads about 15 books in a year.
He said many students have benefited from the one teacher one child adoption rule initiated by the Lyonchhen. The ministry also provided educational loans to students to pursue higher studies and about 522 students could pursue higher education under the loan scheme.
He said, “We have provided 9 sanitary pad machines, 12 filtration of safe drinking water and counseling services with 104 counselors.”
“Delivering quality for the 21st century and teacher’s motivation, addressing social problems like, suicide, substance abuse, mental health and bullying and harnessing the opportunities of ICT are the major challenges education system face today,” the Education Minister said.