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Education: Looking ahead

When education comes to the limelight, it is good. But when policies and blueprints change so often, it is not good. And now we have a new education policy.

Changing education policy may be easy on the part of policymakers. It is not for the implementers. Abrupt shift has more disadvantages, particularly when we talk about education. So play not with education and the future of the nation.

If the new education policy wants to wear a new face, we will continue to see it for what it has been so far. There is nothing new in its entirety – the new education policy.

Class size and student-teacher ratio talks have been there for a long time. Reportedly our school have the right ratio. Our teachers disagree.

The fact is that there has never been a real education policy in decades. When NAPE came in, it was the last change in the way Bhutanese education looked to the future needs of the country. But the NAPE failed, not because of what it essentially was and aimed for; we failed to implement the idea, beautiful and promising as it was.

Then came the idea of cutting the root and branch of English itself because some so-called experts advised us to do away with the very heart and soul of the language. Shakespeare and the many poets and towering writers were banished effectively from the Bhutanese syllabus.  And then we realised we had made a mistake and invited the Bard of Avon back into our classrooms.

Education is the light of the nation. It is time we gave it the respect and place it deserves. We need a vision of change directed by the quality of our education system.  Perhaps because we never had a solid education policy to guide our future we are today faced with issues of youth unemployment and human resource shortage.

The challenge today is retaining our teachers who are leaving the job in increasing numbers. The policy doesn’t speak anything about it. Our schools, particularly in the remote corners, are facing problems of neglect and poor infrastructural requirement, shortage of teachers besides. The policy is blissfully quiet on all these issues.

The education policy needs to be bold and futuristic.

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