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Question Time with the Hon’ble Minister for Education

Posted on :19 May 2017

The House conducted the question hour session with the Minister for Education. The questions were related to responses received from the Ministry on the recommendations provided by the House during its 18th session on the issues related to education.
Welcoming the Minster for Education on behalf of the National Council for the Question Hour Session, the Chairperson expressed his gratitude to the Ministry for it continued support in responding to the recommendations of the House. He said that the question hour session was as per the follow-up report on education to clarify on the responses received from the Ministry. 
Expressing his appreciation for the Minister’s presences, the Hon’ble Member Nima gave a brief background of the review conducted by the Special Committee for Education highlighting on the responses received from the Ministry. Five questions were raised which are related to the finalization of the National Education Policy; how will the Royal Government ensure that all the teachers in the country receive a minimum of 80 hours of subject based Professional Development programs ensuring fair distribution across the country; how will the Royal Government will ensure the curricula update, accuracy of content and relevance for the student; Justification on why Namthars and Legsheys have no contemporary relevance and how such relevancy to Bhutanese society is brought about by subjects like Shakespearean play; and finally when will the Royal Government initiate the study to determine the feasibility of teaching Bhutanese History and other local subjects in Dzongkhag. 
In response to the questions, the Hon’ble Education Minister shared the activities and programmes initiated by the ministry to improve the quality of education sector. Stressing that education is always a continuous process, he spoke on the three major reforms initiated by the government which includes the school reform, curriculum reform and teachers development. Further, stressing on how the central schools can address many existing issues by providing conducive environment for student he expressed his reservation as a politician in participating in the curriculum development. However, he informed the House that the government with the Royal Education Council has conducted an in-depth review on the curriculum framework in consultation with the teachers of about 600 schools. Further providing a list of existing policy, he reported that the ministry is still in the process of drafting the National Education Policy consolidating all the existing policies. 
Stating the importance of providing profession development to teachers, the minister said that in order to ensure that all the teachers in the country receive a minimum of 80 hours of subject based Professional Development Program as per the Teacher HR policy 2014 the government has allocated a budget of 117 million. 
Highlighting on the curriculum development cycle and standard procedural protocol followed by the Royal Education Council in developing the curriculum, he said that REC is in the process of improving the current procedural and framework of curriculum development. 
Providing an background and objective on the research conducted on the Dzongkhag curriculum to develop the Dzongkhag language in school, the Minister said the findings of the research has shown that Namthars and Legsheys did not support in development of dzongkhag language either in preservation and promotion of our cultural. However, it has not been completely dropped but can been found in Library as a reference and supplement for the students to go through. Further in 2016 while conducting an in depth research on the curriculum in consultation with teachers, parents and students and professional have not suggested or resulted in the need to incorporate the books in the curriculum. 
On the feasibility of teaching Bhutanese History in Dzongkha, the Hon’ble Minister said that the ministry is not in a position to consider the recommendation of the House to teach Bhutanese History and other local subject in Dzongkhag owing to shortage of teachers in general, need for professional teacher in the subject and lack of interest from the students are the major constrains. Further, he reported that the ministry has not encountered any issues in the current system. 
The House adjourned for the day with three members supplementing to the response of the Minister. 
On Monday, the Social and Cultural Affairs Committee will present the Cultural Heritage Review Report to the House for deliberation.


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