The National Assembly session saw the Member of Parliament of Radhi-Sakteng questioning the policy of consolidation of schools and 100 percent enrollment in the education system. The Education Minister, Lyonpo Mingbo Dukpo, said such a policy of consolidation of schools is not a new thing and was already planned earlier.
The Minister said Extended Class Rooms (ECRs) were established for the benefit of children in the remote places, but during a Mid Term Review in 2010, it was found that quality of education was lacking in ECRs. Therefore, the ministry decided to resort to the policy of consolidation of schools.
Lyonpo Mingbo Dukpo said the education system and policy was formed from the time of the Third Druk Gyalpo which has been successful through the years. Under the visionary Kings, schools have been established even in the far flung areas to provide better opportunities to all children of Bhutan. He added the ministry’s target is set at achieving 100 percent school enrollment.
“Even in small villages, in order to give 100% opportunities to the children, policies have been made and for the community schools and ECR,” Education Minister said. He added that the policies have started since 1990s under the leadership of the Fourth Druk Gyalpo.
Lyonpo shared that the quality of education in Bhutan is considered on the higher side in the region. “Our enrollment is 96% out of 100% which means if the village has 100 children who are at the age of school-going, the children who is able to go to school is 96,” he added.
Since the start of ECRs 2010, and in one to two years from then, about 112 such schools have been established with more than 3,000 students. However, the lack of quality was a main concern. Due to teacher shortage, community based teachers were employed. Lyonpo said quality teacher and quality education is important.
“From 2010, such consolidated program started and today’s consolidation program is not a new thing. It has been planned earlier,” the Lyonpo said.
The main objective of the education ministry is to enhance quality education in the 11th Plan. Lyonpo said the consolidation policy has to be continued and there is no need to worry to since the implementation will be done after a careful study.
Lyonpo said in the education ministry is coming up with strategic plans for implementation for ten years called “Bhutan Education Blueprint 2014-2024” which would be soon formulated to enhance the quality of education in the country.