Monday, November 21, 2016

Ours is an autonomous agency: A Bhutanese Saying!

I made a phone call to an official in BCSEA, formerly BBE. (Bhutan Council for Secondary Examinations and Assessment) “Hello, I am Lobsang Nima and I am calling from LLSS, Thimphu. I want to inquire about how evaluators in English are selected for evaluation in the English subject. I have been teaching English for the last ten years and I haven’t been to an evaluation camp even once. Can you tell me what criteria must I meet for being eligible for such camp?” Quick came the reply,

“Sir we select teachers based on the subjects they teach (Never mentioned the criteria) especially those teachers who teach classes X and XII, indicating teachers from Lower Secondary schools and Primary schools aren’t eligible. Although, I am not saying teachers from LSS and PS aren’t capable and competent but if I do so. I will have to listen to a lot of criticisms from those who are teaching at the secondary level.” I thanked the person, conversation ended.

For information, BCSEA provides quotas to all schools for invigilation duties during the board exams and for Management works as I have heard are now given to the support staff to save on cost-TA/DA. A legitimate reason! In primary schools classes III and VI papers are evaluated in the school.

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The Raison de tre for this particular update is, just for the fear of criticisms do you make phone calls to English teachers of secondary schools for evaluating English papers. This might surely be the case with other subjects, I don’t know. Perhaps, Bhutan might be the only country which takes ‘criticisms’ as all devil and negative. If secondary teachers teaching X and XII’s are eligible, how many of them do we have in Bhutan? All are teachers of MSS and HSS called for the evaluation? If not, how does the rest of the country know about what is happening during the winters in the hallowed walls and classrooms of CST, Rinchending? The question here is not about how many are called but how are they called? This is giving me a feeling that until now, only the near and known ones of the subject heads have been called. If this is so, I am surely worried about the credibility of the assessment done.

Perhaps, it’s time BCSEA floats this criteria like they float quotas for invigilation duties to the respective Dzongkhags and Thromdes for evaluators in secondary schools-no pun intended. When the rest of the country is working with accountability and transparency, one cannot defend saying, ours is an autonomous agency. This has become a clich├ęd saying-“Auntonomous bay ne dhi ghi, lakha Du.” “How lakha is in your hands!” BCSEA can set criteria for evaluation camp in different subjects and keep it open for teachers. This ‘Lakha Du’ of yours will take care of itself-my humble opinion.