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HRH Gyalsey graces the installation of Pangbisa Dzong Sertog

His Royal Highness Gyalsey Jigme Namgyel Wangchuck graced the Sertog installation ceremony of the Utse of Pangbisa Dzong in Paro on November 11, 2023, coinciding with the birth anniversary of His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo. This ceremony was presided over by the Dorji Lopon and Laytshog Lopon. To mark the auspicious event, His Royal Highness planted a cypress tree at the grounds of the Dzong.

Transitioning the Bhutan Baccalaureate: A Report on the Transition Roadmap – February to July 2023

The Teacher Development Centre and the Education Research Centre of Druk Gyalpo’s Institute are leading the transition of the Bhutan Baccalaureate Learning Process. The transition process includes helping school leaders and teachers imbibe the Philosophical Underpinnings of the Bhutan Baccalaureate and the contextualisation and implementation of the Bhutan Baccalaureate Learning Process. In each school, this process begins with the collection of the backstory of the school as well as the backstory of individual faculty members. Using the backstories, the faculties are taken through a process of internalising the Five Areas of Development: Cerebral, Emotional, Physical, Social, and Spiritual as adult individuals before slowly transitioning into their role as teachers. The backstories of the students, alumni, and community are used to contextualise and implement the Learning Process in the school.

The Transition Roadmap is designed by Druk Gyalpo’s Institute in collaboration with the Department of School Education, MoESD, the Principals of 22 schools and the Dzongkhag/Thromde Education Officers. The Roadmap includes a set of 18 indicators of success to ensure that the plans in the Roadmap are successfully implemented. This report provides an update on the progress made in each of the indicators of success from February to July 2023. The report will be used to review and update the plans in the Transition Roadmap from August to December 2023.

Nature Retreat

At The Royal Academy, learners, both students and adults, participate in 2 Nature Retreats every year. Each Nature Retreat is an important learning experience that spans a period of 5 nights and 6 days each. The idea behind these retreats is manifold. The Nature Retreat helps learners appreciate the magnificence of the world we live in. It teaches them vital aspects which cannot be done within a classroom and helps them develop survival and social skills. The education system seldom gives students the opportunity to connect to their roots or nature. The Nature Retreat re-establishes this connection and learners are able to see and experience for themselves their interconnectedness with nature and learn how humans have an integral part to play in preserving and protecting nature.

The Nature Retreat also plays a significant role in facilitating positive interactions between learners and their peers and helping build stronger relationships not only among peers but also between Mentors and their mentees. The emotional and social interaction that occurs during the nature retreat is essential to help the mentor understand their mentees better and help them through their learning journey.

As a part of the engagement programme among the 23 Bhutan Baccalaureate schools, a Nature Retreat organised from 11-16 May 2023. A total of 362 teachers and students participated in the Nature Retreat. This included 318 participants (students and teachers) from The Royal Academy and 44 students from the 22 Bhutan Baccalaureate schools (2 students from each of the 22 schools). The Nature Retreat aimed to provide a unique learning experience for learners and foster strong bonds between the participants.

The Nature Retreat was organised in the 27 existing mentor-mentee groups from The Royal Academy. The 44 students from the remaining Bhutan Baccalaureate schools were then distributed among these 27 mentor-mentee groups. The allocation process ensured that students from each of the 22 schools were distributed into separate groups, ensuring diversity and a mix of students from different schools in each group.

Each mentor-mentee group embarked on their journey to different location for the Nature Retreat, spanning across 10 different Dzongkhags in Bhutan: Paro, Thimphu, Haa, Punakha, Wangdue Phodrang, Trongsa, Dagana, Tsirang, Chhukha, and Gasa.

The overall report for the Nature Retreat can be found here.

Dzongkha Debate Competition among the 23 Bhutan Baccalaureate Schools

A Dzongkha Debate Competition was held among the 23 Bhutan Baccalaureate Schools. The competition was divided into two developmental stages: a Primary School Dzongkha Debate for students in Developmental Stage III (grades 4 to 6) and a Middle Secondary Dzongkha Debate for students in Stage V (grades 9 to 10).

This report presents the details of the Primary School Dzongkha Debate and the Middle Secondary School Dzongkha Debate, as well as an analysis of each programme. The analysis of the programmes was developed using the insightful reflections submitted by the participating students.

Overview of The Primary School Dzongkha Debate

The Primary School Dzongkha Debate was organised by the Dzongkha Domain Heads and teachers of Zangkhar Primary School and Tshaphel Lower Secondary School. The debate aimed at promoting the use of Dzongkha and facilitating the exchange of knowledge and ideas among the Bhutan Baccalaureate Schools. A total of 14 schools participated in the programme. Each school was represented by 2 students from grades 4-6. Due to geographical and physical constraints, the Primary School Dzongkha Debate was conducted virtually via Zoom.

The Primary School Dzongkha Debate consisted of two rounds: a preliminary round and a final round. In the preliminary round, the 14 participating schools were randomly divided into two groups: for the motion and against the motion. The topic of the debate for the preliminary round was “Education is more important than wealth”. Group 1 supported the motion, while Group 2 opposed it. While the schools participated in groups, they were assessed based on their individual performance. The preliminary round was conducted on Monday, 3rd April, 2023.

6 schools with the highest scores from the preliminary round were then selected to go through to the final round of the Primary School Dzongkha Debate. As with the preliminary round, the 6 schools were randomly divided into two groups: Group 1 supported the motion, while Group 2 opposed it. The topic of the debate for the final round was ‘Schools can benefit from allowing students to use mobile phones as it can contribute to the development of their Cerebral Area’. Here too, the schools were assessed based on their individual performance. The final round of the Primary School Debate was conducted on Monday, 10th April 2023.

Overview of The Middle Secondary School Dzongkha Debate

The Middle Secondary School Dzongkha Debate was organised by the Dzongkha Domain Heads and teachers of Jakar HSS and Phuntshothang MSS and conducted on 8th April 2023. The debate aimed at promoting the use of Dzongkha and facilitating the exchange of knowledge and ideas among the Bhutan Baccalaureate Schools. A total of 19 schools participated in the programme. Each school was represented by 1 student from grade 9 or 10. Due to geographical and physical constraints, the Primary School Dzongkha Debate was conducted virtually via Zoom.

Given the large number of participants, the Middle Secondary School Dzongkha Debate was facilitated through two simultaneous debates. The participating schools were divided into 2 different groups within which the debate was held. The topic of the debate for both groups was “Is it necessary to go abroad to sustain our livelihood?”. Within each group, schools were further divided into 2 subgroups where Group 1 supported the motion, while Group 2 opposed it. Although the panel of judges for the two groups was different, both groups were assessed based on the same assessment criteria. Similarly, while the schools participated in groups, they were assessed based on their individual performance.

Bhutan Baccalaureate: The Learning Journey in 23 schools.

The Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Education & Skills Development and Druk Gyalpo’s Institute was signed in 2021 to transition the Bhutan Baccalaureate to 22 schools. The Learning Process of the Bhutan Baccalaureate has been implemented in the classrooms of 23 Bhutan Baccalaureate schools, and opportunities have been created to enhance the engagement among the students and teachers of the 23 schools. The Learning Showcase is an annual event that serves as a platform to share and exchange learning and practices that schools have developed during their journey in transitioning to the Bhutan Baccalaureate Learning Process.

The schools had the option to showcase their learning through videos and live presentations showcasing the contextualisation and implementation of the Bhutan Baccalaureate Learning Process in their school. With the Bhutan Baccalaureate Learning Process entering the lives of students from February 2023, the showcase this year included student and parent voices as well as the experiences of the members of the communities around the school. Students and teachers from the 23 Bhutan Baccalaureate watched the showcase virtually on the 9th and 10th of June. The sharing of the learning journey by students was the session that all the schools looked forward to.

This report highlights the learning journey of the 23 Bhutan Baccalaureate schools in contextualising the Bhutan Baccalaureate Learning Process. While all 23 schools are implementing the Learning Process, this showcase allowed each school to present areas of the Learning Process that represents the strengths of an individual school. Hence, the variety of showcases ranging from examples of learning experiences created for learners in the Five Areas of Development, use of technology, the impact of mentorship, the introduction of Aesthetics, focus on STEM and engagement with the community were some of the recurring themes from the showcase. The report provides a synopsis of the learning journey of each school and a summary of the panel discussion on the learning journey of students. To get a detailed account of the learning journey of a school, the video recording of the learning journey of each school is accessible as a hyperlink.