National consultation Education Blueprint 2014-2024 underway

The national consultation on the Education Blueprint 2014-2024 will survey and collect comprehensive information on education policies, implementation strategies, concerns, challenges and opportunities with numerous stakeholders in the current education system.

The Education Blueprint is aimed at reforming the Bhutanese education system to meet the challenges of the 21st century, in convergence with the international standards, through a time bound strategic roadmap.

According to the Ministry of Education, it has prepared the consultation strategies to review the entire education system and to be administered nationwide through public consultation (zomdue), focus group discussion, field survey through questionnaires, online survey questionnaires, online survey through ministry’s website, online forum discussion, one-on-one interview and on-air consultation through radio and TV panel and memorandum from individuals or interest groups.

The ministry says education plays a central role in any country’s pursuit of economic growth and national development, and such challenges can be addressed effectively only if continuous reform takes place in education system.

The ministry has done studies that indicate a huge gap, particularly in children’s learning, classroom practices, school processes, and education support systems, between the current and the desired state in the quality of learning outcomes.

The Blueprint will, therefore, review the education system and come up with strategic innovations that will bring about positive and visible changes in the overall quality of education.

According to the consultation manual of Bhutan Education Blueprint, following decades of planned development since 1960s, and periodic efforts in the form of policy changes and adaptations to modernistic approaches from New Approach to Primary Education to Educating-for-GNH to improving the education system have been tried with some successes and numerous challenges.

The study conducted by iDiscoveri India and the Royal Education Council in 2009 also discovered a huge gap between the current and the desired state in the quality of learning outcomes due to existence of numerous cross-cutting patterns in children’s learning, classroom practices, school processes, education support systems, etc. The study recommended putting in capable school heads, improving the quality of teachers, and giving a greater autonomy to schools for improving the system.

The Minister, MoE, Mingbo Dukpa, said, “We have done so well, in terms of quantity access, but quality aspects, there has been general concern and the focus of the Blueprint will be on quality.”

Lyonpo said that the exercise is to build the strength of the system that is already in place and improve upon it. He said it is for the first time that a very comprehensive review of the school education is being done. He said that the education system has to help prepare the young Bhutanese to cope with societal expectations and challenges ahead.

“The present education system has not only come under increased public scrutiny and debate, but also concerns on the overall quality of education,” said the Education Minister.

The nationwide consultations will ensure that there is a maximum participation by people across all the sections of the society. While actual survey sample size is estimated at 9,000, through on-line survey or discussion forum, on-air consultations, and memorandum, it is expected that close to 20,000 plus public will be involved in the entire public consultation process.

As part of the review process that began since May 2014, and given the nature of the education system and its complexity as a public sector undertaking, the ministry had launched a nationwide consultation on education from October 9-31, 2014 to seek public views on the type and kind of education system that is really needed to address the short-term and long-term challenges of the country. The consultation will cover the twenty dzongkhags.

A comprehensive review of the entire education system and implementation through a time bound roadmap is geared towards the systematic transformation of the education system, and to achieve a level of student competencies equivalent to international standards by 2020.

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