Annual Education Conference ends with 16 resolutions

Displaying the vision of the education ministry in all the dzongkhags, thromde education sectors, and relevant agencies is the most prominent resolution among the 16 passed in the 19th Annual Education Conference late last month.

The conference also resolved to enhance quality and inclusive education and the sustainability of the central schools.  The ministry will now enhance facilities in the existing central schools by constructing additional hostels, classrooms and staff quarters as per requirement.

Another important resolution that the conference has passed is waiving off instructional classes on Saturdays from the 2019 academic session. The days, meanwhile, will be used to develop teachersโ€™ professionalism and extra co-curricular activities whenever required.

All students completing class X will be enrolled in class XI in the regular academic programme and other equivalent programmes, including Technical and Vocational Education Trainings (TVET), based on academic performance from the beginning of 2020.  The ministry will work on TVET pathways and curriculums in collaboration with the labor ministry, Royal Education Council, Bhutan Council for Secondary Examinations Assessment (BCSEA) and the Royal University of Bhutan for smooth transition. The ministry will also initiate discussion with private partners on the possibility of offering TVET subjects in private schools through Public Private Partnership model from 2020.

The education minister, Jai Bir Rai, said the program will continue for the sustainability of the private partners by signing Memorandum of Understanding with them. โ€œThey have been helping in educating our children. We cannot neglect them in future after investing so much for the programs. It has to continue for the greater benefit whoever government comes in the next tenure,โ€ he said.  

The ministry has also committed to review and establish additional central schools in the 12th FYP and provide beddings materials such as mattresses, pillows and bed covers to all the boarding schools. Further, the ministry has committed to identify critically disadvantaged students and provide uniforms through prescribed procedures.

The ministry will now also segregate existing central schools into two separate campuses with full-fledged principals in respective schools. However, the primary campuses will be still getting all the facilities that the secondary schools receive. 

From next academic year, the ministry will provide stationery to all students, except to students in secondary schools in urban areas.

The conference has also endorsed to establish one premier school for Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), which will have differentiated curriculum in science and mathematics for Class IX.

The REC in collaboration with the ministry, BCSEA and the Royal University of Bhutan will design enriching academic programs in other subject areas for those taking functional science and mathematics. Also, REC will prepare the plan for piloting of differentiated curriculum in science and mathematics in collaboration with the ministry, BCSEA and the RUB and present it to the Curriculum Technical Advisory Board and the Council.

Technical and Vocational Education (TVET) will now be inculcated in the curriculum from Class XI as an optional subject be introduced from 2020 academic session. The ministry has identified seven schools in the country as per STEP-UP project.

The ministry has also decided to phase out examinations for Class PP to Class III from 2020.

Meanwhile, the ministry will conduct professional development program on Continuous Formative Assessment for primary teachers during 2019 winter vacation. The ministry, with REC and BCSEA will start preparing for phasing out examinations for classes PP-III immediately.

The ministry, as per the resolution, will develop a framework and guidelines for child safety, security and protection of children in educational institutes. The draft education ICT master plan called iSherig-2 for 2019-2023 has now been endorsed in principle.

The ministry has also endorsed in principle the draft Bhutan professional standards for teachers, and competency framework for principals with the assurance to develop guidelines and standard operating procedures for use of the above standards. However, the ministry will carry out nationwide awareness among teachers and principals before the implementation.

Henceforth, teachers will be provided with 80 hours of professional development (PD) annually, 20 hours each at school and dzongkhag level. There will be 40 hours of PD program at the national level.

Further, the ministry has proposed to improve teacher redeployment exercise which will be reviewed further for final endorsement. REC will work on curriculum thinning and review of time allocation for each subject.

Krishna Ghalley from Phuentsholing