Keeping Up With The Times, ICT To Be A Compulsory Subject For Bhutan’s Class IX Students

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Starting from the 2019 academic session, ICT will be taught for a period a week.

His Majesty, the King of Bhutan 'flying' with school kids. (Source: Flickr/Istvan Hernadi)

  

By Yangchen C Rinzin | Kuensel

According to a circular issued by the Department of School Education, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) will be a compulsory subject for grade IX students.

Starting from the 2019 academic session, the subject will be taught for a period a week. The council would also provide orientation to teachers on the new literacy curriculum for grade IX this vacation.

The optional subject, Computer Application would be discontinued immediately. The December 21 circular also stated that the department would do away with Computer Application and implement compulsory ICT in the 2020 academic session.

The Chief Program Officer of the Instructional Media Division, Ugyen Dorji said the Royal Education Council (REC) has already completed and developed the ICT literacy curriculum for grade IX.

The four core strands of ICT education

Ugyen Dorji explained that the literacy curriculum with ICT is based on four strands – knowledge and operation, digital citizenship, communication and collaboration and computational thinking.

“Although we prefer to orient teachers who have ICT background, it’s not possible in some schools,” he said, adding that this time REC is expecting teachers with ICT background for class IX.

 

Bhutan W.I.R.ED (“Weaving Infotech Resources in Education”), co-funded by Singapore’s Temasek Foundation and the SIF, is a three-year collaboration with MOE Bhutan and the Royal University of Bhutan. This initiative aims to help develop the capacity of Bhutan’s educational system in employing IT for learning and living in the 21st century.

Photo: Singapore International Foundation

 

The REC has already developed and implemented an ICT literacy curriculum from grade IV to VI in 2017 and grade VII-VIII in 2018 as a compulsory subject. This is in line with the Education ICT master plan (iSherig) and the Bhutan Education Blueprint.

The iSherig has identified the development of a comprehensive curriculum for literacy with ICT. The subject is expected to teach technical skills, ethics in the use of ICT such as cyber safety, plagiarism and the responsible use of computers.

With this, the department also notified all schools with computer laboratories to offer ICT as a compulsory subject from grade IV and above for a period each a week.

Statistical breakdown of schools which have computers, internet access and electricity

According to the Annual Education Statistics 2018, about 205 public schools and 28 private schools have computers. However, only 46 out of 308 public primary schools have computers.

 

A primary school in the Phobjikha Valley, Bhutan.

Photo: Markus Wild

 

An approximate 12 percent of the public primary schools still do not have electricity connection. Most of these schools are located in remote places in Bhutan.

As of 2018, the average computers per student for schools with computers are one computer per 23 students. The middle secondary schools have the lowest student computer ratio of 1:25 and primary schools have the highest computer to student ratio of 1:37 in public schools.

In terms of internet connectivity in schools, about 94 percent of private schools and 51 percent of public schools are connected to the internet whereas about 95 percent of the public higher secondary schools and 49 percent of the public primary schools have access to the internet.

 

This article first appeared in kuensel and has been edited for the Daily Bhutan.

 


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