Under the leadership of the first Director T.S. Powdyel and his staff the Centre has planned and pioneered several critical activities within the parameters of its three major mandate areas: research, publications, and professional community support.
Special mention may be made of our significant project namely, the development of National Standards for English for Schools in Bhutan called The Silken Knot based on which a full-scale curriculum and professional development programme has been launched by the Ministry of Education.
The Centre has launched the publication of an education research journal called Rabsel and has published 12 volumes of this journal so far. The Centre has also established the Yonten – the CERD Occasional Papersseries (three volumes published as of this date) which has become very popular among educators and scholars. CERD also followed the evolution and development of education in the country and published a well-acclaimed document called The Call – Stories of Yesteryears, which was reviewed both inside and outside Bhutan.
Another of the Centre’s major engagements has been with the development of profiles for all the schools and institutes in the country highlighting their origin, evolution and vision. The 1060-page three-year project was published as Sherig Saga as part of our contribution to the celebration of the centenary of monarchy in the country. View & Vision – Stories of success, published in 2007 documents examples of good practice.
The Silken knot – Standards for Mathematics for Schools in Bhutan, Profiles of English Teachers, Gender Difference in Mathematics Achievement, The Writing Standards of Class X Students, Grammar and Language Proficiency of Rural and Urban Students, among other initiatives, have proved as insightful as they have been useful.
Among the more recent projects, a nationwide study which was called An Enquiry into Teaching as a Profession in Bhutan was completed with support from STEP. The findings have already been shared with the relevant stakeholders for discussion and action. The report was published as The State of Our Nation’s Teachers; An Enquiry into Teaching as a Profession in Bhutan.
The latest project carried out by the CERD was the Teaching of Bhutan History in Dzongkha – An impact study, completed as a Ministry of Education Project, (2008).
In view of our commitment to the nation, one copy each of all CERD publications are sent to all schools and institutes, Dzongkhag education offices, ministries, commissions, some international agencies, and even to the royal secretariat.
Collaboration with Professional Communities
The Centre has been actively involved with many other professional bodies, particularly those within the Royal University of Bhutan and Ministry of Education. CERD is a founding member of the National Education Assessment Task Force. The Centre is actively engaged in curriculum development works mostly in English and Dzongkha. The Centre has worked extensively on the production of the two bilingual dictionaries – Dzongkha-English Dictionary, 2003, and English-Dzongkha Dictionary, under the auspices of the Dzongkha Development Commission.
One of the Centre’s other significant initiatives has been the launch of The Rinpung Experiment. This programme series brings together the teachers and managers of the Paro Valley schools to a common forum about once every two months around academic issues and concerns. To this date the Centre has held 15 sessions. In 2005, CERD brought together the leaders and researchers of the member-institutes of the Royal University of Bhutan for a two-day seminar on the theme: Building Our Institutional Futures. This series is to be an annual affair.
Another aspect of The Rinpung Experiment is supporting Action Research. Professor Tom Maxwell of the University of New England, Armidale, Australia, has been helping us facilitate an active Action Researchgroup of Paro Valley School teachers.
The introduction of a Faculty Retreat programme has been received as a deeply rewarding experience by the lecturers and managers of the Paro College of Education. The first retreat on the theme Reconnecting Role & Soul, held during June 15-17, 2007 at Olathang Hotel, Paro, was a rare event and experience.
In 2008, CERD under the auspicious of Rinpung Experiment Series XVI organized a seminar on Teachers’ perception about the New English Curriculum -reflections and insights from the classroom with English teacher representatives from different schools from the Dzongkhags of Paro, Thimphu, Punakha, Chukha and Wangduephodrang.
Similarly, as a part of centenary celebrations and coronation of His Majesty the Fifth King, CERD organized three-day National Seminar on Quality of Education in Bhutan.
As a part of professional and community support services, CERD took the initiative of starting Action research workshops and trainings to the school teachers of different Dzongkhags to foster research culture in their educational settings. This is to be done region wise. So far The Centre has been able to complete training in the western and eastern regions including faculty Action Research Workshop at Paro College of Education in March 2010.
Moreover, the Centre works very closely with the schools and school teachers from across the country. CERD collects produces and sends relevant educational materials to schools from time to time. CERD also provides editorial and professional services when it can.
The Centre for Educational Research & Development has often been called upon to provide professional support to teachers, teacher-educators, and researchers in their work. The resources of the CERD Library, though small, have provided critical support to our stakeholders. CERD has been a crucial link between the Royal University of Bhutan and the Ministry of Education by virtue of the nature of its work and its reach. CERD believes in creative, mutually respectful, healthy relationship with all relevant parties and agencies, and intends to evolve into a vibrant instrument to serve the educational needs of the country.