Sherig conference came and then it was over, just as it arrived, quietly. Media had no space at the conference. We are now told that the conference rolled out some significant plans for the education sector. It is wonderful why subject as important as education should be kept out of public glare. The conference in Sonamthang Central School, Zhemgang surely must have been very significant.
Among the conference’s many resolutions was the plan to give a laptop each to our teachers. At the core of the idea is to allow our teachers to harness the power information and communication technology and to enhance the quality of teaching and learning process. Certainly laptop would make lesson planning less cumbersome. It would help teachers have access to kinds and kinds of educational repositories online too. But our schools need good internet connections first. Only then the laptop will be of some real use. As good an idea of Government to Citizen (G2C) services is, failures along the way have pretty much killed the very idea. Providing laptops just to make our teachers feel they are cared and valued may not be of much help in teaching-learning process otherwise.
The ministry’s plan to review education assessment at three stages (III, VI and X) periodically in order to gauge the learning standard of students is laudable. If we do not know how our students are benefiting from the lessons, we are not preparing them for the future. Commendable too is the ministry’s plan to provide adequate staff quarters. If our teachers are in the campus, they can be more productive. However, Royal Education Council’s plan to propose differentiated curriculum needs to be understood in the right context. We need to understand how this would benefit our children and the education system as a whole.
The conference also decided to revise school opening date for children of Classes PP to three. They will now head to school only in the second week of February. We are also told that the conference recommended the ministry to provide automatic promotion of the principals from P2 to P1 based on competency and performance. These are all good, but the more pressing issues facing the education sector today seem to have eluded the conference.
What about the issues with central schools today like poor quality of supply items like dress and shoes? What about teacher attrition rate? About these, we heard nothing from the conference.