MOE’s method of marking

Unfair to foreign students.

by R.N.Bhattacharjee  Kuensel Forum 27 July 2013

During the last 24 years of my stay in Bhutan, I have received so much affection, love and respect that I do not even want to sound ungrateful to this god-blessed country and far be it from my thoughts and imagination. I do also believe in simple living and noble thinking. So if my article hurts anyone’s feelings and sentiments, I would like to ask for forgiveness at the onset.

The declaration of the academic result or The Result Day as it is popularly known all across the country, is a great event in the school calendar and something eagerly looked forward to. On this particular day, students get to know about their academic performance in addition to the subject and areas they need to work harder on. The parents, on their part, get to have an idea about the overall progress of the school. Every year when at the beginning of the academic session, meritorious students of the different classes of our school as well as schools across the country, are awarded His Majesty’s Certificates for Academic Excellence, like the other parents, I too feel very proud and happy about their achievements, even daydreaming about the day when my daughters, both of whom have been studying in this country for the last 7 years, would have the privilege and good fortune to receive the certificates. It would not only mean a lot to the parents but also help my daughters to accept Bhutan as an impartial, equal, fair and just society; a nation that truly practices the GNH values that it preaches.

In the year 2011, my eldest daughter, Ms Akanksha Bhattacharjee, topped her class from Tsimalakha Lower Secondary School, Chukha, having secured 92%, in the Board Examination. When HM’s Certificates were awarded at the beginning of the next academic session, she did not get a mention as a topper during the ceremony, let alone getting any certificates! As is my nature, I tried to overlook the whole thing thinking that it made no difference at all. But it did. At least to my daughters. I realized this only this morning when the results of the Mid-Term Examination of my daughters were declared in their school. I was late to the school as I had two consecutive classes. By the time I arrived at their school, the results were already announced. A few minutes later, I met my teary-eyed daughter. She had every right to be disheartened as she has done, as far as I am concerned, quite well in all the subjects, having secured 100 out of 100 in Maths, 85% in English, 96.5% in History, 94% in IT, 88% in Geography and 94 in Science. Surprisingly, she was given the 5th position in her own class as her total marks were divided by 7, the seventh subject being Dzongkha.

On enquiry, I was told by the Academic Head of the school that students who do not study Dzongkha, as per the government policy, are not to be given any positions hence Indian students are no more to be considered for positions.. How I wish that I had known about this policy at the time of admission. I would have allowed my daughters to study Dzongkha. There is no point crying over spilt milk now but I am sure many will agree with me that the system is not totally unflawed. On the contrary, it is a bit disheartening and demoralizing. As far as I know even if a student fails in Dzongkha and this is without being disrespectful to the National Language in the least, s/he is not detained. This is in the broader interest of the students pursuing higher education. Why was then her percentage brought down to 66.5%? Is it a just and fair assessment? Should not parents like me in that case, have been informed about the consequences of not studying Dzongkha? That without Dzongkha, students from across the borders, would be always treated as an outsider and never can be a part of the mainstream in this glorious country like most probably I have been, without being aware of it?

Interestingly, my other daughter in class VI got 86.66% and in her case the total marks were not divided by the 5th subject , which is Dzongkha!

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