Dr. Janet Schofield and Matt Schuelka’s lecture overviewed the current education system in Bhutan, current policies, and current issues. The education system in Bhutan has greatly expanded in the last 50-60 years. There are currently 500 schools in the country. With the adoption of Gross National Happiness as a guiding principle Bhutan is trying to get all kids into schools. In rural areas access to schools, because of terrain, is a major problem. Many of the students have to walk long and dangerous paths in order to attend school. Around 20% of students do not go to school because of the costs. The literacy rate in 2005 was 52.8% but it is expected that, with the expansion of schools, literacy will rise. The government wants to expand schools as well as create inclusion within the school systems. Bhutan has a new policy intended to include disabled children in all schools. Some of the schools provide meals for students who come from low income backgrounds. It was discovered that many of the students had a lower performance due to just being hungry.
The government currently provides free education until grade 10. After grade ten the students take standardized tests in order to qualify for further education. There are a few state scholarships offered for those who qualify and the students must pay for a private institution in order to continue their education. The first private college started only in 2009. Many students end up having to continue their studies abroad due to lack of access to higher education. Also, there are currently not enough jobs within the government or country to support all university grauates.
There is a shortage of well-qualified and trained teachers. The majority of teachers only have a 10th grade education. In many of the classrooms the teachers have a 50 to 1 ratio. The students are instructed in English and Dzongkha. Bhutan has around 20 languages so students are learning not just one but two new languages. Bhutan is facing many of the same issues as other countries with reference to education but it is improving. This lecture gave us an informative insight into the education system in Bhutan.