The need to improve the quality of education in Bhutan was stated during the presentation of The State of the Nation report in joint sitting of the National Assembly. Lyonchhen Tshering Tobgay shared the plans in store for enhancing the quality education in the country. A total of 17% of government budget has been kept aside for education ministry.
Lyonchhen said while education in Bhutan is provided at free of cost, those that appreciate such facilities must also show concerns over the declining quality of education.
The decline in discipline, value, and students unable to find jobs even after the completion of studies points to the need to improve school standards in Bhutan. “We have decided to reform the schools and for the last three months, the education ministry has been working on the programs,” said the Prime Minister.
The reforms include school boarding facilities with nutritious food, physical exercise, discipline, and value education and Buddhist teachings to be offered in schools.
The government will hold consultations with the peo¬ple, students and civil servants on the reform plans before implementation as the reforms will cost a huge amount of money.
Lyonchhen quoted His Majesty the King Fourth Druk Gyalpo, “The future of our country lies in the hands of our children,” and His Majesty the King, “The greatness of a country is determined by its people. The productiveness and character of the people is in turn determined by the quality of the education they receive.”
This year, 30 schools will go through the school reform program. Bhutan has over 544 schools, 111 extended class-rooms and 9,000 teachers for 172, 000 students.
The government will also support all the colleges with special attention to Sherubtse College for which project is also being developed.
Meanwhile, Lyonchhen said the Education City project in Thimphu has been terminated because of land legality issues. He said the government has received three propos¬als to start private colleges which will be implemented soon. He said the government is interested to receive col¬lege set up proposals, especially those to be based in the eastern dzongkhags.
Lyonchhen further stated that reading habits are on a decline. He said the government is developing a national strategy to inculcate reading habit and in the year 2015 to be declared as National Reading Year to celebrate the 60th birth anniversary of His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo.
In addition, the existing Jigme Wangchuck Public Library will be enhanced by this year and the e-library in the country will be established following the visit of the Prime Minister of India recently.
The report also addresses teacher shortage in schools, therefore, the government has also launched i-school project where a teacher is able to teach several students in different schools with the aid of ICT video conferencing.
The State of the Nation report states that the project also fits in with the country’s vision for an ICT-enabled knowl¬edge society. The project will be assessed at the end of the year, based on the students’ performances and if successful, such a model is to be extended to other parts of the country, enabling the quality teaching and learning to be shared.