24.12.2014 - UNESCO Office in New Delhi

Bhutan School Education Sector Blueprint

Royal Government of Bhutan, Hongtsho Primary School, Thimpu, Dzongkhag

The present education system of Bhutan is a result of decades of systematic and scheduled interventions in an attempt to modify and modernize education in Bhutan. The Royal Government of Bhutan currently offers free education up to Class 10.

In recent years, accelerated levels of improvement in gross and net enrollment rates (at the secondary and primary levels), movement towards a more favorable Gender Parity Index (GPI), enhanced retention rates and declining repetition rates can be seen. However, despite the positive trends, there have been concerns about the overall quality of education. As a result, there is an urgent need for reform and tangible actions as has been recognized in “The Vision 2020 of Bhutan”

In keeping with the vision, it was decided that a broad road map be devised to systematically target shortcomings in the education system in the decade to come, namely the Bhutan School Education Sector Blueprint, inspired by the Malaysian Education Blueprint (2012). The Education Blueprint will act as a manual for timely transformational responses targeting achievement of high-level competencies for Bhutanese students, at par with educational standards in OECD countries

UNESCO New Delhi coordinated several UNESCO offices for supporting the preparation, drafting and review of this Education Blueprint. For the purpose of developing the Education Blueprint for Bhutan, UNESCO organized a study visit to Malaysia for Bhutanese officials in order to gain firsthand knowledge of the process for developing an educational blueprint. Additionally, the Malaysian Funds-in-Trust has provided financial support to the Blueprint development process. UNESCO New Delhi is currently collaborating and managing the project, while simultaneously providing technical support, in collaboration with the Teacher Development and Education Policy Division of UNESCO HQ and the Education Policy Reform (EPR) section of UNESCO Bangkok.

Transforming the Bhutanese education system in line with international norms via development and implementation of the Education Blueprint 2014-2024 is the ultimate goal of this project. The specific objectives of this project are: a) conducting reviews of the current education performance and challenges; b) developing a vision for the education system to meet both national development challenges and equip students to face 21st century challenges; c) developing an Education Blueprint- a time bound roadmap to systemically reform the entire education system in 10 years; and d) developing capacities of MOE on education planning to design, implement, and monitor an Education Blueprint.

In preparation of the Blueprint, the Education Review Office (ERO) of the Ministry of Education conducted a major national consultation from 10 October to 10 November 2014 in order to identify key educational concerns of its people. UNESCO, so far, has visited Bhutan four times for the preparation of the proposal and to offer technical support for the development of the Blueprint. The UNESCO team has worked collaboratively to provide online support, develop sample designs, develop Key Performance Indicators (KPI) and draft consultation strategies. With UNESCO’s assistance, a cost simulation model and monitoring and evaluation framework were also devised and incorporated into the Blueprint.

During each mission, meetings were held with the Director General, Education Secretary, as well as with the Minister of Education, in order to brief them on the progress made and to receive feedback.

A first draft of the Education Blueprint has been submitted that identifies four broad outcome themes (access, quality, equity and efficiency) and twelve shifts to transform the education system. The shifts, which originated from the broad based national consultations, will deliver aspirations via a number of carefully designed game-changing initiatives. Each shift will address at least one of the four system outcomes of achieving access in education, achieving quality in education, achieving equity in education, and achieving system efficiency. The Blueprint considers quality the common underlying focus across all the shifts as this is the educational dimension that deserves urgent attention and immediate action.

UNESCO is honored to have the opportunity to be a part of shaping the educational landscape of Bhutan. The Ministry of Education, Bhutan has considered UNESCO’s support to the development of the Blueprint to be pivotal. Currently, UNESCO is in dialogue with the Ministry of Education regarding the possibility of expanding UNESCO’s technical and financial support to the implementation of the Blueprint and capacity building on some of the areas, as previously discussed with the ministry officials.

For more information please contact:

Shailendra Sigdel, Statistical Cluster Advisor (email: s.sigel@unesco.org)

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