In the past experts say that it was mainly listening, which means that only the teacher spoke, and other skills were neglected.
"They end up memorising what is in the book and interpreting it in the same way as the teacher," said one teacher. "Developing the skills would enable students to read and understand and interpret it on their own."
The new curriculum will specify the number of periods for each skill and will require students to fulfill specific objectives set in the curriculum framework. "The curriculum framework will explain how students should read and write and what kind of understanding they should reach at the end of each level," said the education secretary, Dr. Pema Thinley.
To know the level of development of their skills, students will be tested on parallel learning materials and not on materials present in the syllabus.
A guidebook for teachers has been developed to outline the way teachers should work and the syllabus will use only "relevant materials", explained Lhundup Drukpa, project officer of Strengthening Support to Education in Bhutan (SSEB), as a good balance between non-fiction and fiction, and classical and contemporary literature.
Literature written by Bhutanese writers, in English, are included in the syllabus for different classes along with selected work by writers from other countries. The aim is to expose youth to "Bhutanese literature and thinking".
The new curriculum will be introduced in other classes over the next few years, education officials said.
Education officials said they believed that the development of "tools subjects" - English, Mathematics and Dzongkha - would lead to the overall improvement of the quality of education.
They said that English would be the most effective one because it was the medium in which most of the subjects were taught.
"The general notion is that competency level of people in English is not high and it should be improved," said Dr. Pema Thinley.
"Graduates from both high schools and colleges are not able to communicate in this language, cannot keep the minutes of meetings properly, and cannot do their reports."
Meanwhile about 75 middle and higher secondary English teachers are attending an orientation workshop in Thimphu to be introduced to the new curriculum.
According to officials, experts studied the cause of falling standards in the country and identified that language skills, lack of child-centered and child friendly teaching-learning process and materials, and low professional knowledge of teachers were some of the most urgent problems that had to be addressed.
new term will apply to all schools in the country with an exception of
those in the high altitude areas. For schools in Laya, Lingshi, and Lunana,
school starts in April and will continue until mid-November. Schools in
Merak and Sakten will begin by middle of March and close in mid-November.