Don’t change horses midstream

Puran Gurung/ Thimphu Any change in the assessment system for students in classes from IV to XII must be based on in-depth research and consultation to promote learning and improve education quality, according to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). Issuing a news release on the DNT government’s recent launch of the assessment system, the PDP said the initiative must not be direct or abrupt. The party’s “only concern and call” is to implement the assessment rule at the start of the next academic session as doing it in mid-year would be “unfair and insensitive”. The rule change requires students to score a minimum of 40% separately in continuous assessment and written examination to be declared as passed. Earlier the average score of 40% was adequate to be declared as passed. “This changed Assessment system will change our students and teachers' learning and teaching behaviour which will take time to adapt,” the party said. The party reminded that schools have been disrupted due to the pandemic, and students did not have the normal conducive learning environment. “Even as our students are struggling to make up for the missed learning and lessons, the additional burden of having to meet up to the requirement of the new assessment system would be stressful for a large number of students and teachers,” stated the press release. School teachers who talked to The Journalist were generally in favour of the decision to postpone the assessment to the upcoming academic session as they felt it is only logical to do so. They pointed out that the change in the assessment rule was launched mid-year and implementing it now will adversely affect students because many have not done well in the continuous assessment. One teacher said that the formulation of the new assessment rule was not even discussed with the teachers. “We didn’t even receive a questionnaire,” the teacher said, expressing concern if at all the new rule was properly researched. “A fair call upon the government,” wrote a prominent blogger. “Changing rule in the middle of the game is most irresponsible.”