As the kingdom’s first teacher education establishment, the launch of Samtse College of Education as a Teacher Training Institute (TTI) coincided with the historic development efforts that were being initiated in the 1960s. Bhutan’s experiment with its First Five-Year Plan was a successful one and in the process, the need for the skilled human resource was seen as imperative for the country’s social and economic development efforts. A number of schools were set up during the decade. It was necessary to have teachers who were home-bred, educated and trained not only in the emerging academic disciplines and secular methods but were knowledgeable and experienced in the country’s history, culture and heritage. 

TTI was blessed and inaugurated by His Late Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck on 29 May 1968. The institute began with an initial enrollment of 41 students, 39 of whom graduated successfully and became teachers and teacher educators and later played important roles in the educational development of Bhutan. In 1983, drawing on models and best practices in teacher education programmes in the UK, Australia, Switzerland and the Philippines and with assistance from UNESCO, TTI (now renamed National Institute of Education [NIE]), launched the country’s first undergraduate programme in secondary teacher education.

The birth of NIE coincided with the introduction of New Approach to Primary Education (NAPE) initiatives in the country, which brought about a paradigm shift in the way school education - especially curriculum and teaching pedagogies - was approached. NIE then introduced the country’s first Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) programme for university graduates in 1989, Bachelor of Education programme (B.Ed Primary) for higher secondary graduates in 1993, and Bachelor of Education programme (by distance) in  1995 for in-service primary school teachers.

It was here where the first Postgraduate Certificate in Education programme (Dzongkha) was also launched. SCE currently offers Masters, postgraduate, bachelors and diploma programmes in diverse fields of teacher education including science and mathematics, contemplative counseling, social sciences and humanities, language and literary education, IT, and commerce and business education. The College will introduce bachelors and Masters programmes in social work in the near future. SCE’s faculty members are actively engaged in policy-relevant research, policy and programme development for agencies in government and private sectors, and community service.   

Article Source: Samtse College of Education. 

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