“Education quality is the degree or the extent to which education helps learners in maximal realization of their individual potentialities and contributes towards social goal”.
Today, Bhutan’s biggest and hottest issue is on the Quality of Education. It is a depicted topic for boiling discussion in the country and gained attention of good number of educationist. Some says quality has deteriorated and on the other hand some debate no. Quality of education is a unit less entity; it’s not like measuring any other physical quantity. To comment upon this topic there has to be a valid proves depicted through reaches and measurement through appropriate tools. Therefore, in this assignment I have mentioned few points to prove that the “Quality of Education is Declining or deteriorating”.
The article published in the Kuensel on 10th April, 2009 has said that the quality of education is declining because there are good numbers of untrained teachers employed in the various private schools of Bhutan. Tshewang Tandin, the Director of Department of School Education, upon hearing this said that the schools had been given time so that in the long-run all the schools will have trained teachers. If so, then how is about present? Don’t you think that teaching presently by untrained teachers will hamper the quality in the future? Similarly, in the Government Schools too have contract teachers, teaching without having any proper teacher training. These are serious threat to the quality of educations. When those trained and experienced teacher face difficulty in managing classroom and keeping students engaged to learn, imagine those untrained teacher standing in front of 40 or 45 students. How do we expect not to decline the quality of educations when students are taught and brought up by the untrained teachers?
A resigned teacher said in kuenselonline that: “The increased allowance didn’t stop me from resigning because I just wasn’t happy.” Many Bhutanese teachers are increasingly seek to opt out of the so called noble profession--teaching. That is all because teachers are underappreciated, undervalued and received very little respect, despite working hard under poor conditions. Does anyone love working so hard when it was not appreciated and valued? I am damn sure, nobody likes rather it undermine faith. A study says that nineteen teachers resigned in 2008 and another six left their job this year, according to the education ministry. The country already faces a shortfall of about 800 teachers. Teacher shortage is another important factor determining the quality of education. Besides, living conditions of teachers in remote regions could be another good reason why an increasing number of teachers are opting to leave the profession.
Most of the teachers in Bhutan are teacher not because they love the professions. It is the destiny that brought them. Trainees here are would be teachers but if you ask if she/he likes the teaching one will say---‘NO, I don’t but I had no option as I didn’t qualify for other or higher Education’. I am also same with everyone here. I don’t like teaching too.
Education secretary, Sangay Zam, has told in one of the article in Kuensel that to retain teachers they don’t give no objection certificates (NOC) especially to Mathematics, Science and Dzongkha teachers to apply elsewhere, because there’s already a shortage of these teachers though there are teachers who want to leave the job. What does it mean? Forcing a person to be a teacher when he is not wiling to? How can one possibly eat the porridge when she hates it? We have to think more to improve the quality of education.
An article published in Bhutan Observer said that “After speaking to teachers and principals of 509 schools across the country, including 20 private schools, and observing them in the classroom, the study, carried out by Royal Education Council (REC) and an Indian educational group found that teacher capacity was the number one constraint to quality. Most of the teachers lacked the sheer capacity to deliver what was required of them.” The REC study also found that given poor preparation of teachers, lack of tools was a serious constraint to lesson delivery. “After all, the quality of education cannot be better or worse than the quality of teachers.” -- Lyonpo Thakur S Powdyel (11th December, 2008)
The study pointed out that a majority of students were not gaining from the learning experience and a mechanical teaching-learning process in the classrooms, with lowering student involvement, limited students’ learning. Report also revealed that teacher-led chalk-and-talk, lack of proper instructional resources and lack of real measurement of learning are some of the factors behind this. It also explained the need for supporting systems for schools to strengthen curriculum standards, resources and incentives for quality. The mechanical teaching-learning process deployed in classrooms directly limits student learning by lowering student’s involvement and promoting learning by rote.
“I never teach my pupils; I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn.”---Albert Einstein. School functioning without conducive environment is another reason why quality of education is declining. For example, school like Mendrelgang MSS has no proper facilities.”The room is about 12 feet by 10. About 30 students live within. Three share two beds. The room is so crowded that there is no open space on the floor; whose planks are rotting. There is no light. Students use kerosene lamps and candles to study and move around. The stench from the common toilet is so putrid that students cover their faces with blankets and sleep.” read the article published in Kuensel by Tshering Palden on 29th April. The classes were overcrowded in most of the schools that lack of space did not allow most teachers to use active and innovative teaching methods. How can anyone study in a crowded place like this? Where is the condition for the learners?
At this time, I don’t hesitate to say that the quality of Education is declining because of the changes in the curriculum like English, Mathematics, Dzongkha and History. All the students are lost because the current curriculum and past needs different classroom set up which learners are not adapted with. Best example is Bhutan history curriculum. Once it was taught in the English was changed in Dzongkha and now again it is changing to English. So, these frequent changes in curriculum lost student’s trek of continuity which consequently hampers the quality of Education.
Another factor responsible for deteriorating the quality of education is students doing business while schooling. There are number of students who are obliged to do small business with education. Article by Tshering Palden in Kuensel says that “already weighed down by school bag, some student carry vegetables to sell. And return home only after selling when the school closes for the day and carrying essentials like sugar, cooking oil, dry fish and even a few kilograms’ of rice, bought with the money earned from the vegetables.”
“Teachers open the door. You enter by yourself.”-- W. C. Sellar and R. J. Yeatman. It is students’ attitudes that determine the learning. Without having interest learning simply don’t take place. Thus, it declines the quality of the Education. If you compare between present learners (youth) and the learners of the past decades you will see that the students at present are not very interested in school educations. Especially children don’t like learning Dzongkha. I think what Samtse Chimi pointed out in National Assembly (2006) about Graduate not being able to write application in Dzongkha was right even today. If we go around and ask our trainee teacher to write application in Dzongkha, I think maximum will fail. For every person who wants to teach there are approximately thirty people who don't want to learn much---Chinese Proverb.
Bhutanese children receive free Education unlike any other countries. This system has actually devastated the intuition of the Bhutanese students to learn because they don’t feel the pinch to Educate. People without experiencing the pain don’t understand the value the Education and they don’t study at all despite attending the mere class. Thus, it brings down the Quality of Education.
Every cone has two sides and let’s not forget this universal truth. Though Technologies has helped people in many ways but it has also disadvantages. A modern technology like calculator has done more harm than help. Students who uses calculator from his early school days don’t know the product of 9 and 8 because they depend too much on calculator which otherwise one can do it easily.
Quality of Education will keep on declining if no measure is taken care by the Department. A kick upstairs for late starters--Education ministry restores fast track double promotion for older students—an article by Tenzin Namgyel says that Education Ministry is re-introducing the “Double Promotion System” for the students-- not based on the academic merit, but be given to students, who are late beginners, i.e., starting school at the age of eight, nine or 10. Officiating chief planning officer of education ministry, Singye Dorji, said the new system was to fast-track older students, who meet the minimum academic requirement for higher classes, so that they can cope with the higher levels according to their age. But where is the quality that they are taking care of? Though they are doing this to reduce the number of drop-outs and also to help every body receive basic education but they are neglecting the fact that it will deteriorate the Quality of Education in future adding taste to the already deteriorated quality.
To conclude, many schools in Bhutan lack essential infrastructure and curricular reform is stifled by a lack of sufficient orientation and resource support to deliver the curriculum. And teachers, the agents of providing quality education, work in poor conditions and have low morale and motivation.
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Namgyel, T. (2009, April 28). A kick upstairs for late starters: Education ministry restores fast track double promotion for older students. Retrieved April 29, 2009 from http://www.kuenselonline.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=12261
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Palden, T. (2009, April 29). Moonlighting with schooling. Retrieved April 29, 2009 from http://www.kuenselonline.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=12261
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