Bhutan signs the PISA-D pro­gram

Bhutan Times - - Home - Rinzin Lhamo / Phuentshol­ing

Coin­cid­ing with the clos­ing cer­e­mony of the 18th Na­tional Ed­u­ca­tion Con­fer­ence on 12 Jan­uary, Bhutan signed Pro­gram for In­ter­na­tional Stu­dent As­sess­ment (PISA-D).

The Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion (MoE) and Bhutan Coun­cil of School Ex­am­i­na­tions and As­sess­ment (BCSEA) signed a mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing (MoU) to par­tic­i­pate in the pro­gram which will start soon.

The pro­gram will test 15-year-old stu­dents in lit­er­acy and nu­mer­acy with other mem­ber coun­tries ev­ery three years.

The pro­gram is ex­pected to pro­vide a plat­form for the Bhutanese stu­dents to check their knowl­edge at the in­ter­na­tional level.

Ly­onchen Tsh­er­ing Tob­gay, who graced the clos­ing cer­e­mony of the con­fer­ence, said that af­ter see­ing the en­dorsed res­o­lu­tion of the con­fer­ence, it was sure that the Bhutanese stu­dents would do bet­ter in PISA-D than other coun­tries.

He said that the stu­dent num­ber has de­creased to 168,000 this year, so it is easy to take care of ev­ery stu­dent by in­di­vid­ual teach­ers.

Ly­onchen re­ported that the teacher to stu­dent ra­tion in pri­mary schools in Bhutan is 1:15, while Sin­ga­pore, which has the top PISA score, has a ra­tio of 1:16. “So we can ex­cel in PISA-D,” he said.

The dis­cus­sion in the con­fer­ence was guided by the three pil­lars of ed­u­ca­tion, namely school, cur­ricu­lum, and teach­ers to ac­cel­er­ate the on­go­ing re­form ini­tia­tives and ef­forts to­wards achiev­ing ex­cel­lence in ed­u­ca­tion.

Un­der the first pil­lar, the tim­ing for school break was changed.

Fur­ther review of the re­quire­ment of sci­ence equip­ment and chem­i­cals will also be car­ried out for sci­ence prac­ti­cal classes.

Ac­knowl­edg­ing the ben­e­fits of cen­tral schools, nine ad­di­tional cen­tral schools have been de­clared from the 2017 aca­demic ses­sion.

Un­der the cur­ricu­lum pil­lar, the con­cept of Premier School was en­dorsed, but the min­istry rec­om­mended an in-depth study on it.

To pro­mote Dzongkha, the pro­posal to raise the pass mark for Classes IX and X in all sub­jects from 35% to 40% will be re­viewed in the next Na­tional Ed­u­ca­tion Con­fer­ence.

All the schools will hold a week-long ori­en­ta­tion pro­gram on val­ues ed­u­ca­tion from the be­gin­ning of the 2017 aca­demic ses­sion.

Un­der the last pil­lar, the min­istry rec­om­mended that the teach­ers make an in­creas­ing use of ICT for ef­fi­cient les­son plan­ning and re­search.

The teach­ers will be en­cour­aged to spe­cialise in one sub­ject to achieve One Teacher One Sub­ject pol­icy.

Fur­ther, dzongkhags or thromdes were rec­om­mended to review and ra­tio­nalise the non-aca­demic and non-pro­fes­sional work­load of teach­ers.

To rec­og­nize the re­cip­i­ents of His Majesty’s Na­tional Or­der of Merit for ex­cel­lence in Teach­ing and Lead­er­ship, mer­i­to­ri­ous pro­mo­tion will be rec­om­mended to Royal Civil Ser­vice Com­mis­sion.

The MoE pledged to im­prove drama fes­ti­vals to pro­mote per­form­ing arts in schools.

Sim­i­larly, the min­istry also pledged to is­sue safe san­i­tary pads to ev­ery girl stu­dent in the coun­try.

On 9 Jan­uary, the MoE launched the ma­chine to pro­duce safe and low­cost san­i­tary pads in the coun­try.

The ed­u­ca­tion min­is­ter said that with the launch of the ma­chine, the min­istry aims to pro­duce safe san­i­tary pad for ev­ery school girl.

Bhutan will soon have nine more ma­chines that will each have a ca­pac­ity to pro­duce 1,000 pads in a day.

The pads will cost Nu.2.5 per piece.

The four-day ed­u­ca­tion con­fer­ence ended on 12 Jan­uary.

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