Educare Skill – On track and rolling

Educare Skill – On track and rolling

Coinciding with His Majesty the King’s 44th Birth Anniversary in February,

iBEST Institute launched “Educare Skill,” a pioneering online learning platform. It was a milestone not just for the institute but also the country. Accessible both as a website and a mobile app, the platform’s primary goal is to develop complementary and supplementary educational content for Bhutanese children while supporting the broader vision and efforts of the Royal Government of Bhutan.

Almost three months since the inception and the institute is leaving nothing unturned to realize its objectives. Since the national language, Dzongkha is at risk of deterioration, and Educare Skill’s content is exclusively in Dzongkha, many parents believe that this will benefit their children.

This has generated widespread enthusiasm for promoting the national language, chief executive officer (CEO) of iBEST, Tharchen says, adding that the focus currently is on creating content for children, with an emphasis on promoting and teaching Dzongkha, the national language.

According to the CEO, the reception has been good. “Since the launch of Educare Skill, numerous individuals, organizations, and stakeholders have expressed excitement about our platform and shared positive feedback. We’ve also received many favourable reviews and comments on social media platforms,” he said. Conversely, many others have shared the need for foundational learning materials especially in Dzongkha. “As a result, we are actively working on developing such resources,” he added.

Focused on the above important details, the institute has not been very successful in establishing meaningful partnerships with any agency. However, numerous experts have come forward in providing technical expertise and review the contents produced.

As the work undertaken is crucial, especially as it revolutionizes learning Dzongkha for children and contributing to the preservation and promotion of Dzongkha, the contents undergo several scrutinies.

“By collaborating with the experts, we ensure the accuracy of content while crafting engaging materials to foster understanding and appreciation of our linguistic root. Through the promotion of Dzongkha, we forge a link to our history and cultivate a sense of belongingness and national identity in the contemporary world,” Tharchen explained.

Additionally, the institute as of now has not received any formal support from the government.  “We aspire to collaborate and partner with the relevant ministries and stakeholders. We are still in an initial stage of our initiative and with support and collaboration from the government, we can do so much more, whereby, we can contribute towards the larger national goal and aspiration of developing ‘empowered and skilled youth’ for a developed Bhutan,” Tharchen underlined.

For a project of the kind, challenges are natural and the institute has its share. “There are multitudes of issues and challenges for such a novel initiative, yet, we commit to leave no stone unturned as we fervently believe in our cause and the impacts our initiative will bring for our people and country,” the CEO said.

One of the pressing issues faced is with the loading time of content on the platform since Bhutan does not have any international hosting and content distribution network (CDN). Another is integrating international payment gateways through Bhutan’s financial institutions.

Tharchen explains that the long-term challenge will be staying updated with technology and developing more content. Other issues to be tackled are to find competent human resources since the required talent pool are multimedia artists such as animators, visual editors, designers, videographers, writers, and others since there are no formal institutions to train these professionals.

Meanwhile, the institute has compiled a diverse range of children’s content, including Read-Aloud video series, Animated Video series, Nursery Rhymes, and more. Forging partnerships is also in the plan. “Since our launch, our focus has primarily been on promoting this content, as well as launching our app and website.

However, recognizing that our platform is dedicated to educational and skill-building purposes, we are eager to forge partnerships with schools and institutes nationwide,” Tharchen said. He believes that as more content is generated, feedback and insights from educators and institutions will be invaluable.

“After all, they possess firsthand knowledge of what is truly beneficial for children in Bhutan. By collaborating closely, we aim to create enduring content that will have a lasting impact. We eagerly anticipate the opportunity to work alongside teachers, students, parents, and others in this endeavour,” he added.

Within the gamut of the project, Tharchen says there will be something for everyone who loves to learn. “Our platform offers a diverse array of content, catering to every curious mind regardless of age, qualification, or location. In a rapidly evolving world of advancements and innovations, staying ahead requires a willingness to adapt and grow. Educare Skill will guide individuals to learn by providing various methods and alternatives to acquire knowledge and master skills,” he added.

Currently, the institute is focusing on creating content for children to promote and teach Dzongkha. There are read-aloud videos, animated series, nursery rhymes, and interactive gamified learning, all presented in Dzongkha as the language. The contents are visually appealing, educational, and entertaining.

Notwithstanding the challenges, Tharchen says that the institute and the current project have been inspired by the “golden words of His Majesty the King.” “We will do everything possible to assist in our own small ways to fulfill His Majesty’s aspirations for the 21st Century Economic Road Map. Enducare Skill will strive to play a pivotal role by providing skills and educating all groups of people.”

By Ugyen Tenzin, Thimphu