With current political campaign in full swing promising many important pledges by both the parties gearing towards General Election in Bhutan, I liked one of the pledges: doing away examination till class VI and providing opportunities for all [those who pass class X] to study till class XII. There are debates of this pledge not being in line with the constitution of the Kingdom of Bhutan.
Here’s how the Article 9, Principles of State Policy, section 16 of the constitution of the Kingdom of Bhutan reads:
“The State shall provide free education to all children of school going age up to tenth standard and ensure that technical and professional education is made generally available and that higher education is equally accessible to all on the basis of merit“.
If we are to strictly follow the constitution, our current education system may also be viewed being against the constitution as free education is provided to those students who make through the “cut-off” point set by the Ministry of Education’s Department of School Education, Royal Government of Bhutan every year. I agree that this statement of mine can be counter-argued by “basis of merit” and “higher education is equally accessible”.
However, I believe that there is no harm in providing opportunities for all to at-least study till class XII as many are left loitering on streets hunting for jobs and indulging into “un-lawful” activities when they should actually be going to school. Even though this does not look against the constitution [in my judgement], I stand to be corrected, but if it really is against the constitution I think it isn’t a bad idea to work on amending our constitution as this is not a bad proposal. Our constitution is designed in such a way by our beloved Kings that there is a chapter which reflects the possibility of amending our constitution:
Article 35 [Amendment & Authoritative Text], section 1 states:
“Subject to the provision of section 26 of Article 2 and section 9 of Article 33, Parliament shall have the power to amend by way of addition, variation, or repeal the provisions of this Constitution in accordance with the procedure set out in this Article“.
In-case readers are wondering how section 26 of Article 2 and section 9 of Article 33 reads:
Article 33  “The Constitution shall not be amended during a state of emergency“.
Article 2  “Parliament shall make no laws or exercise its powers to amend the provisions of this Article and section 2 of Article 1 except through a National Referendum“.
What we should know is best brains are born not necessarily through examinations. Our education system requires even our six year old kid to face selection “interviews”, let alone examination. Imagine the stress through which our young minds must be going through. It is about time for Bhutan to get out of memorizing culture and “pouring” how text book reads, to encouraging critical thinking through dialogue and discourses. It is about time for our education system to encourage reading and writing. It is also important for our education system to dedicate compulsory one year after class X to pursue vocational skill development classes. Such skill development classes may include but not limited to: hotel wait-staff; house keeping; cleaning; cooking; plumbing; carpentry; paintings; sports; camping; social etiquette; etc.
Example: my daughter was studying in class X in Bhutan and when I migrated to Australia, all she was asked by school here was her age and the class in which she went back in Bhutan. After initial assessment [no examination but plain talking], she was admitted to year 10. No transfer certificate was required; no character certificates were asked. Aussies believe in leaving no children behind in education. And YES! she doesn’t have to appear for any examination in school except for some internal evaluation and small class tests to go to year 11. This gives her plenty of time to read the books she always wanted to read.
And we are taking about “compromising the quality of our education“