Beginning of education and health reforms
Lyonchhen State of the Nation report Dr Lotay Tshering described some activities that are being rolled out.
Education the sector needs the utmost importance in the scheme of national development plans as reiterated in His Majesty’s speech to Punakha during the celebration of the 113th National Day.
A Royal Kasho was issued, which ordered the establishment of a Timeline Education Reform Council to prepare a visionary and achievable roadmap for education and the economy in the 21st century.
Bhutan’s Baccalaureate system is one, which was first initiated at the Druk Gyalpoi Institute (DGI) in Pangbisa 10 years ago.
The Education Ministry signed a memorandum of understanding with the DGI on February 7 this year, according to the report, to try out the concept at Wangbama Central School and Dechencholing Upper Secondary School, which was followed by a memorandum of understanding to include 22 additional schools under the Bhutan Baccalaureate system.
“In view of the Bhutan Baccalaureate learning process, an immersion program for 22 principals and 44 teachers was completed in July 2021. A six-month diploma program was also launched at the DGI for 66 new teachers” , indicates the report.
The introduction of the New Normal Program (NNC) frameworks and the new assessment system were bold initiatives launched this year. Lyonchhen’s report said 17 books had been reviewed and included financial literacy in a variety of topics.
Regarding the flagship education program, projects such as the construction of ICT laboratories and the distribution of desktops and laptops continued, and a budget of UN 100 million was increased to 900 million UN.
Among other initiatives in the education sector, Lyonchhen highlighted initiatives such as CodeMonkey, a gift from His Majesty the King, the MySherig application, and plans to further develop the management information system of the education (EMIS).
The report did not fail to mention the Vocational Training Reform Strategic Plan (TVET) for a strong, resilient and dynamic labor pool.
The report states that the invitation of experts and training of trainees has started offering more than 30 courses at the national diploma level in addition to the existing national diploma course.
The ruling party’s greatest achievement has been in the health sector.
The State of the Nation report mentioned the two nationwide vaccination campaigns that were launched successfully, reaching coverage of over 90 percent of the eligible population in the country.
Work, he said, was underway to purchase an additional 180,000 doses of Pfizer vaccine (pediatric formulation) worth $ 1.314 million.
Despite concerns, when referrals and regular services to hospitals outside Bhutan resumed, continuous monitoring was maintained.
The flagship health program launched this year aims to screen adults for H. pylori, women (aged 25 to 65) for cervical cancer and women (aged 40 to 65) for it. breast cancer. The State of the Nation reported that currently 42,741 people have been screened for H. pylori, 8,068 women for cervical cancer and 8,068 women for breast cancer.
The 40-bed Dewathang Hospital in Samdrupjongkhar was also completed.
The introduction of the Service with Care and Compassion (PEN HEARTS) program to ensure the delivery of home health services, care for the elderly, mobile cardiotocography or iCTG services, which are implemented in 46 health centers, and the construction of a 150-bed Gyaltsuen Jetsun Pema Mother and Child Hospital in Thimphu, were also highlighted in the State of the Nation report of Lyonchhen.
Women and children
This year, the government removed the 30 percent tariff on sanitary products. However, as reported to Kuensel, many girls and women still have not experienced falling prices for sanitary products in the market.
The National Childhood Policy is under review by the Gross National Happiness Commission.
In October of this year, police and RENEW received more than 700 cases of gender-based violence against women and girls during the pandemic.
The National Commission for Women and Children (NCWC) has also received 396 cases to date.