The Royal Education Council (REC) will launch an autonomous Teacher Education Institute in Yonphula, Trashigang, as an in-service Professional Development Institute on 11 November.
The event launched in coincidence to the fourth monarch’s birth anniversary is meant to be a tribute to 100 years of education and is currently named ‘Centenary Education Institute’.
REC Director Sonam Wangyel Wang said the institute is for in-service professionals’ development. “We are looking at the courses that add values, such as instructional leadership, cooperative learning structure, early childhood and so on,” he said.
Initially the institute will offer short-term, non-credited programs, and in the near future credit-bearing programs of longer duration will be offered through blended approach.
These programs were derived from Ministry of Education (MoE)’s in-service Education and Training (INSET) Master Plan and also studies conducted by REC including Annual Status of Student Learning, Teacher Need Assessment, and Scooping study on Early Childhood development, GNH Seed Schools and other studies.
Academic programs are said to be developed based on educational need of the country and guided by the principals of professional development, such as those propounded by Darling-Hammond and McLaughlin (2003).
The institute’s vision is to be ‘an innovative learning organization’ and mission states to model excellence and innovation in in-service teacher education, educational research, and services that encourage life-long learning and reflective praxis.
Also it aims to provide professional development programs responsive to the changing needs of Bhutanese teachers, the nation and the world at large.
“With primary emphasis on enhancing professional capacity of teachers, principals and educators in general, the institute will supplement educational programs of the colleges of Education,” the Director said.
A bicameral system of governance, with a Council and an Academic Board, will be constituted for the Institute.
The institute plans to implement quality assurance mechanisms with both internal mechanism for periodic review and self-assessment; and an external mechanism for audit against set national as well as international standards.
The REC director said as the institute begins offering award-bearing programs; it will seek affiliation with either Royal University of Bhutan (RUB) or internationally reputed universities either in North America or Europe and ensure program design and structures as per the Wheel of Academic law.
It will be mandatory for the faculty of the Institute to have a minimum qualification of master’s degree.
Currently, REC is working with couple of universities in North America including Columbia Teachers College, McGill University, University of New Brunswick and Ohio State to secure supplemental teaching faculty as well as generate research based funds to support collaborative research between Bhutanese faculties, teachers and foreign academicians.
A major part of funding is expected from the government. However it is said as the Tertiary Education Policy, the institute will seek financial sustainability with considerations of philanthropic support, tuition fees etc.
In concurrence with its vision and mission, the institute will partner with a School that will serve as its Laboratory School and link with institutes or schools that share similar vision, mission and goals to remain current and for cross-fertilization of ideas.
The institute will accommodate around 40 to 60 students.