Prompted by the fact that Bhutan History textbooks for classes VII to XII are riddled with grammatical and factual errors plus redundancy, and have not been revised for the past two decades, a major curriculum reform is in the offing.
To resolve the issue, a team from the Royal Education Council (REC) is working ona standard Bhutan History curriculum.REC is already planning to write a new history textbook for class VII this winter.
The Curriculum Director Developer, Thukten Jamtsho, said it is very important to revise Bhutan History textbooks.“We are trying to make text books error free and provide standard learning for classes VII to XII,” he said adding that some text books that contain errors are the older versions which the schools are still using.
Likewise, REC has collected the feedback from teachers across the country and even cross-checked with resolutions from the National School Conference 2016. Most of the teachers suggested that the presentation of materials in history was obsolete.
Thukten Jamtsho said that REC reviewed what to incorporate inthe new textbooksbased on analysis of the older ones.
Meanwhile, Bhutan History is mostly taught by teachers whohave no history background because the information can be taught by almost anyone simply because it does not require specialization to teach history as it is now.
However, now, REC wants to make the history curriculum less information-based and more focused on research.
Thukten Jamtsho said that they are planning to design the history curriculum in such a way that teachers will have to do research on the materials. “We are creating easier topics for VII to X while class XI and XII will be learning in-depth content.”
REC wants to change the contents that are repeated in Bhutan History across the classes. This means, in the new curriculum new contents will be added.“We are going through many references and trying to use authentic materials. We can’t say that it will be totally error free but we really want to minimize any errors,” he said.
Classes VII to Xalong with studying topical content will have to do research. REC wants the students to go beyond text books in learning history.
Dr. (Phd) Tandin Dorji, president of Norbuling Rigter College in Paro, who is also working on the REC project said that they are focusing on removing redundancy and trying to add progression in learning and student research-based learning. “It is very important to revise Bhutan History text books,” he said adding that they are trying to make text books error free and provide standard learning to classes VII to XII.
“Since most of the old text books are riddled with errors, we will be providing edited text books that are error free and meet quality standards,” said Dr. Tandin Dorji.
Last year, a number of issues, constraints and challenges pertaining to the existing school curriculum were unearthed at the national school curriculum review pre-conference which assessed and reviewed the findings and feedback from over 500 schools.
During the conference, reviews of the existing curriculum were made after errors in textbooks were brought to public attention. Experts and officials in education ministry, REC and teachers, among others met to assess and analyze these reviews from the dzongkhags.
Issues included the need for curriculum frameworks and re-trenching, addressing outdated information, lack of teaching and learning materials, and teacher professional development.
Dr. Tandin Dorji added that these frame works are the guidelines which will navigate the curriculum developer to help develop the curriculum and the teacher would also be guidedas to how they translate the curriculum into teaching.
Kinley Yonten from Thimphu