Introducing a differentiated curriculum particularly for grade IX and X, to meet the academic needs and ability of different students, requires thorough study say officials of the Royal Education Council (REC).
Differentiated curriculum is when a student can choose to specialize in a certain subject for which he or she has an aptitude as opposed to taking all other regular subjects.
The national education conference held earlier this month endorsed the idea of proposing differentiated curriculum, which the education secretary said would be presented in the next conference.
Thimphu’s chief education officer Tashi Namgyal said it’s often complex to allow students who might be slower or faster learners than their peers to be taught the same module. The education secretary Karma Yeshey said that a differentiated curriculum could mean options for students to take up advanced or basic mathematics.
However, the REC’s Curriculum Specialist, Wangchuk Rabten, said the decision to differentiate curriculum would bring a huge impact to the education system and society as a whole. “It will either take the education system forward or backward,” he said. “It’s not easy to simply differentiate the curriculum as we need to study and research the feasibility and resource first,” he said, adding that it would take some time to start with the research since the budget would be allotted by the mid of this year.
He said the survey would need to be carried out among senior students, and among the respective parents and teachers, before starting work. “The idea was initiated by the ministry but it’s important the studies be done among the students, parents and teachers because their voice is more important.”
“What if we differentiate the curriculum and students don’t like the idea? What if the employers differentiate among the students who took differentiated curriculum simply because we created it?” Wangchuk Rabten questioned, adding that such possible issues could lead to social disharmony and wastage of resources.
The study would also need to be extended to various stakeholders for feasibility in job market and economic impact. “With the implementation of the idea, the education system might need double the teachers to teach the same subject, so we need to know if the RCSC accepts the extension of slots,” he said.
“Professionally it’s incorrect to carry out the work without research and views of the people simply because it’s the proposal from the education ministry, because it will either make or break apart the future of the education system and so the study will be evidence for the start of our work,” he said.