The school education and research unit of Royal Education Council (REC) has drafted a new curriculum with 23 new courses for students from kindergarten till class XII which is ready to be presented to the government.
The new framework was drafted in collaboration with Idiscoveri Educational Enterprise, India. The unit organized a review workshop at Ugyen Academy, Punakha from February 4 to 8, 2012 where 51 participants from higher secondary schools, colleges, institutes and relevant organizations participated to provide critical feedback.
The final comments were compiled and sent to Idiscoveri for finalizing the curriculum framework and courses.
According to the Program Director for school education and research division at REC, Lhundup Dukpa, the national education framework was introduced after conducting a number of studies.
Annual Status of Student Learning (ASSL), conducted in 2010 and 2011; Teacher Needs Assessment(TNA),conducted lately in 2011; Bhutan Beacon Schools Project Situational Analysis and Review/study of education reforms.
REC has also looked into the reports from six other studies and Education Without Compromise, an Education Commission Report of 2007 before coming up with the new curriculum.
Lhundup Dorji said that the curriculum framework is developed based on the needs and purpose that will meet expectations of the children.
However, some school children and parents are worried about the changes.
“It will be good to have so many choices but the changes will hamper our results,” said a Yangchenphu Higher Secondary School student who believes that student’s performance in English in 2007 was poor because of the change in the English Curriculum.
But Lhundup Dukpa said, “it’s just a holistic review to find out whether we have missed out on anything from the previous version of the curriculum,” adding that REC is doing a comprehensive study on the curriculum to ensure vertical and horizontal alignment in content, skill, and values across the subjects and at all grade levels.
The new courses are segregated into two groups – foundational and elective courses.
English for communication, ICT and Quantitative reasoning and General studies are foundational subjects which students have to take up compulsorily while another 21 subjects are electives for classes XI and XII.
Technical and Agriculture studies, and Travel Tourism and Hospitality are also some of the new introductory elective subjects.
Participants from the review workshop said that the new courses introduced had good content because all the courses were relevant for pursuing further studies.
“Apart from the apparent benefits, students prepare themselves for employment”, said a participant in the workshop, Yonten Jamtsho, a teacher at Shari Higher Secondary School.
Another participant, Kelzang Lhaden says that she cannot really comment on the project but “the courses introduced are more relevant for job market unlike in the past”.
According to officials from REC, currently a gap exists between the school curriculum and courses at the tertiary level therefore in order to fill it up, they are engaging as many stakeholders as possible in their discussions and review meetings.
“If we are successful in our mission we would make a bulldozer driver to aspire to become a mechanical engineer”, said the Program Director.
REC is collaborating with both national and international partners to mobilize funds and technical experts though the seed money for the research comes from the Government.
“We are simply creating job opportunities, so we are hopeful that the government would accept our proposal”, said Lhundup Dorji.