The Bhutanese academic training grounds in the fullness of time has become a repeat-monologue of ‘teacher-led chalk-and-talk’ session which stretched from inception till date.
The results of a researched study conducted by iDiscoveri, a social enterprise in India, in collaboration with education entities in Bhutan revealed that performances of most of the students are ’below expectations on both basic and advances academic skills and lack basic communication and analytical skills’.
The set of findings related to quality of outcomes and learning processes across schools in Bhutan indicated a big gap between the two.
“We recommend that Bhutan needs a comprehensive reform effort to bridge the gap between the current set of challenges facing its school system and the lofty aspiration it holds,” stated the Report.
The report further stated, “while this gap is indeed wide, we have reason to believe that it can be bridged; through a thoughtfully designed and carefully implemented reform effort”.
Many students, the findings revealed, lacked minimum expected competencies in core subjects at their grade levels as well as to understand core concepts and apply knowledge to real life situations across grades and subjects.
Extensive field study in schools found cross-cutting patterns in children’s learning, classroom practices, school processes and the education support system.
The findings on different outcomes in various schools showed that students in private schools were better compared to students in community primary schools. Also, the graduates in the country were found to lack basic analytical and communication skills and the attitudes needed as entry-level professionals.
The study found private schools and some government schools demonstrate better student performance, greater instructional leadership by the principal and visibly better teaching practices in the classroom.
The report states, effective school conditions can be created in Bhutan by putting capable school heads with disproportionate energy in academic improvement, developing passionate teachers to engage each child effectively in class and schools given autonomy.
According to the report, lack of proper instructional resources and lack of real measurement of learning is observed in most classrooms while there is also a lack of essential infrastructure, design and resources to ensure a comfortable and engaging environment for students and teachers in many classrooms.
The prevalent method of one-way ‘talk’ resulted in lack of feedback and active participation in the classroom.
On the same lines, schools were found to lack quality processes for developing teachers’ capacity, the autonomy and resources to initiate academic improvement and the essential physical infrastructure to support learning.
“Despite proper system on school’s side, there seem to be gap in implementation towards performance of the students and teaching quality,” the report stated.
The report states, connection between school and home are weak, with many un-met expectations from both sides. It recommended strengthened supporting systems for schools in the areas of teacher preparation, curriculum standards, resources and the incentives for quality.
It also states that low academic and professional standards for entry into teaching are the major constraints in the system.
The presence of curriculum goals, standards and enabling processes were identified as vital ingredients to provide coherent educational programs.
“We also discovered that there is evidence that better outcomes, quality practices and innovative initiatives exist in small ‘islands of excellence’ within Bhutan,” stated the report.
It is said attempts made in the past at reforming the system failed due to lack of clear and shared goals and objectives for the system, command, control and compliance mindsets and paucity of resources and implementation support.