Education Minister Lyonpo JB Rai

A Nu 1 bn STEM school for the gifted

Education ministry’s big school project focusing on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) is a separate school being planned by the Ministry of Education (MoE). Although STEM is a new kind of specialized school for the gifted students in Bhutan, however, many countries around the world already have such schools.

The best of the best students studying in class six will be selected from different schools in Bhutan to study in the STEM school. The students will be given admission from class seven, and they will be focusing on a particular subject area for an in-depth study. Education minister, JB Rai, said STEM education will lead the students to have more interest and focus in particular subjects.

“The world is changing, and in order to prepare our children for this new world, we need to change the way we educate them. A 21st century education is about giving students the skills they need to succeed in this new world, and helping them grow – the confidence to practice those skills,” the education minister said.

Lyonpo JB Rai said the STEM school is designed to have proper curriculum for an in-depth scientific study, faculty, management system and infrastructure tailored to the needs of the school. “The construction of better and bigger labs and other facilities and would lead to the pooling of specialized teachers with even research being possible.” Lyonpo said.

The infrastructure for the school is estimated to cost Nu 1 billion (bn). Currently, the education ministry is conducting research on the school, and the ministry will be ready with the concept by 2020.

The minister said that the project for such a school, falling under the education flagship program, would be his next big pitch to the Cabinet.  “It is a huge investment which can go up to more than 1 bn and in the few years, we are expecting that a new STEM school will be there in the country,” the education minister said.

STEM school begins from class seven to twelve. Around 500 students will be enrolled in the school and prepare them to go to top international institutions. The ultimate aim is to prepare the students to take up important jobs of the future in top international companies.

Lyonpo said students’ preparation has to start young so that the Bhutanese students can grow up to be globally competent. The ministry is also looking forward to getting support from the private sector to take up 20 percent of the investment in the school startup.

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