Sherig En­dow­ment Fund launched

Bhutan Times - - Home - Sonam Dorji

The Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion launched the Sherig En­dow­ment Fund (SEF) on 23rd Au­gust 2016, an ini­tia­tive started by the gov­ern­ment to pro­vide eq­ui­table ac­cess to qual­ity ed­u­ca­tion to all chil­dren in the country.

The fund will be used to pro­mote ac­tion re­search among schools, pub­lic and pri­vate, to ad­dress chal­lenges re­lated to qual­ity of teach­ing and learn­ing, school man­age­ment and emerg­ing youth is­sues.

Dur­ing the ini­tial phase of im­ple­men­ta­tion, only those ac­tion re­search pro­pos­als sub­mit­ted by schools as a team will be ac­cepted. This is mainly to pro­mote a cul­ture of team build­ing and peer-learn­ing within the schools through such ac­tiv­i­ties. As the fund grows, the grant will also be made avail­able to teach­ers/prin­ci­pals/ vice prin­ci­pals wish­ing to con­duct ac­tion re­search on their own.

This year, a to­tal of 100 pro­pos­als will be sup­ported un­der the Fund. Each suc­cess­ful pro­posal will be el­i­gi­ble for a max­i­mum grant of Nu. 20,000, which will be re­leased at the be­gin­ning of the re­search. De­tails on how to ap­ply for the grant are avail­able on www.ed­u­ca­tion.gov.bt

In ad­di­tion, the Min­istry will also sup­port 15 pro­pos­als thor­ough the Life Skills Ed­u­ca­tion Pro­gramme funded by UNFPA. Coin­cid­ing with the launch of the Fund, Ly­onpo Nam­gay Dorji, Fi­nance Min­is­ter awarded the grant of Nu. 20,000 each to 15 suc­cess­ful pro­pos­als re­ceived from schools.

The Fund will be man­aged by the Board with seven mem­bers un­der the chair­man­ship of Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter with sup­port from the tech­ni­cal com­mit­tee. The pol­icy & plan­ning di­vi­sion un­der the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion will serve as the sec­re­tariat of the fund.

The ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem in Bhutan has made tremen­dous progress since the start of planned de­vel­op­ment. From a mere 400 chil­dren in 11 schools in 1961, there are over 171,000 chil­dren study­ing in about 540 schools as of 2015. The coverage of pri­mary ed­u­ca­tion or Net Pri­mary En­roll­ment Rate stands at 95.2 per­cent, not in­clud­ing the ap­prox­i­mately 2.5 per­cent stu­dents (6-12 years old) study­ing at other lev­els or in other forms of ed­u­ca­tion. Com­men­su­rately, the en­roll­ment con­tin­ues to im­prove at the higher sec­ondary and ter­tiary lev­els.

De­spite the rapid progress, there is much con­cern on the qual­ity and rel­e­vance of the ed­u­ca­tion. The country is now chal­lenged with the need to pro­vide a qual­ity ed­u­ca­tion, which will en­able each and ev­ery child to be­come a re­spon­si­ble and pro­duc­tive cit­i­zen of the country.

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