Assessment for Saturday off or not finds curriculum too heavy and teachers doing too many things

Decision on Saturday expected to come within next two weeks

In the first week of March 2024 there was a lot of controversy as it was revealed that a Committee set up to study the Saturday off pledge had recommended not to give Saturday off.

The government at the time said it is only a committee recommendation and a final decision was not yet taken.

Subsequently it was reported by this paper that the Ministry of Education and Skills Development (MoESD) has hired an international education assessment team called ‘Cambridge International,’ which would do an online and on the ground assessment and diagnosis of the schools and curriculum.

The MoESD had said the team will submit a complete report to the cabinet and based on the report a decision will be taken on Saturday off.

It has been learnt that Cambridge International has finished its survey almost a month ahead of its original May deadline and is in the process of presenting it to the MoESD.

The team not only did online assessment but it also went on the field and met with teachers, principals and schools across Dzongkhags.

One of the findings of the survey is that the curriculum in Bhutan is too heavy and in some cases, there was repetition too.

Another finding was that teachers are doing too many things by being involved in multiple programs like sports, cultural activity etc.

The survey has also found that quality of Bhutanese education is not good compared to the international standard. It has found some of the curriculum is close to the international level and some are not.

There is a need to revise the curriculum.

The MoESD is expected to get a complete presentation of the report and then work on it and then present it to the cabinet with the next two weeks.

The cabinet will deliberate on the report by Cambridge International and then a final decision will have to be taken on whether Saturday off is to be given or not.

While it is not known what the cabinet will decide, the Cambridge Report indicating that students and teachers are overburdened already strengthens the argument for Saturday off.

However, it will also not be so simple as if the Saturday off is to be given then the curriculum will have to be thinned out, and how that can be managed needs to be seen.

In fact, one of the main arguments by those against having Saturday off is the fear of not finishing the curriculum.

From the report, it is clear that the focus in the Bhutanese education needs to be more on quality than just quantity.

There is tremendous pressure on the government to fulfil its pledge and the Education Minister Yeezang D. Thapa in the past said the MoESD wants to give it but a decision is not yet taken.

A source said, “We made a lot of progress and you can expect an announcement next week. The survey is almost done and we got a lot of experts to look into it and we have looked into it and we consulted many people.  Now we feel confident to take a decision.”

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