Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Bhutan : Dzongkha text-book current status? – Making the best of a botched job

20 October, 2008 - The revision of the error-filled Dzongkha textbooks for classes IV to VIII has begun but education ministry officials say that these textbooks will not be withdrawn and reprinted for schools in 2009.

Department of school education’s director, Tshewang Tandin, said that textbooks would not be recalled because the cost implication would be huge and, instead, teachers would be instructed to correct the errors. “The textbooks are being proofread and then instructions on correction will be given to respective teachers,” he said.

To introduce the new dzongkha curriculum for classes IV to VIII in schools this year, the education ministry spent about Nu 1.84 million on the printing of books alone. About 75,000 dzongkha textbooks for classes IV to VIII were printed in 2007.

The errors were recently discussed and debated when education officials met with the dzongkha subject committee in Paro last week.

“According to the subject committee members, major errors weren’t made on the textbooks,” said the director, who cited the short period of time given to officials to develop the textbook and curriculum as one reason for the errors.

The subject committee members said that dzongkha was an evolving language and dzongkha development officials were in the process of standardising the language because of which, teachers felt, the errors were made, according to the director. “The correct spelling or sentences used in the textbooks were all debatable,” he said, adding that the dzongkha development commission was now working on standardising the language through a guidebook.

However, teachers said that the new textbooks were filled with numerous mistakes. Teachers and parents pointed out various spelling and grammatical mistakes, typing errors, poor sentence structure, and wrong use of words in the textbooks.

Education officials said that, to make textbooks error free in future, the textbooks would be proofread and copy edited before producing the final version. “We’ve also decided to set the copy editors accountable if errors are found on textbooks distributed in schools,” said Tshewang Tandin.

He also said that adequate time would be given to officials to develop the curriculum and revise textbooks.

Dzongkha teachers said that they had been correcting the mistakes while teaching, but failed to spot the errors in the textbook sometimes. “It’s risky, because students, especially in the lower grades, study what’s on the textbook and don’t identify an obvious mistake. Students should be given error-free textbooks,” said Karma Wangchuk, a dzongkha teacher in Thimphu.

By Phuntsho Choden / phuntshochoden@kuensel.com.bt


No comments: