Testing Dzongkha proficiency of an employee or new recruits for any institution in the country is expected to become easier with the development of the Dzongkha Standard Testing System (DSTS). The new testing system will be similar to the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) which is an international standardised test of English language proficiency.
Dzongkha Standard Testing System or Dzongjug, in short, is a language assessment tool to assess four skills of speaking, writing, listening and reading Dzongkha. This is expected to promote a credible Dzongkha language standard testing system among institutions and organisations which need to carry out Dzongkha language tests. The system is also one of the success indicators under the Key Result Area of the Dzongkha Development Commission(DDC).
With this, the commission expects to get the current status of Dzongkha usage and its competency rate among Bhutanese.
“If we clearly understand this status, we can work towards the development of our national language. We can even come up with proper planning and policy and ways which will benefit us,” said Tshewang Norbu, the Secretary of DDC.
He shared that instead of institutions such as the education ministry, the Royal University of Bhutan, the Royal Civil Service Commission and the Election Commission of Bhutan using their own modes of examination, a common standard testing mechanism is consistent and reliable. This will help maintain consistent Dzongkha standards and eliminate considerable duplication of work and expenses.
Dr Karma Phuntsho who is a research consultant says this test is also necessary for policymakers whose mode of communication and framing of policies happen in Dzongkha.
“If we think about the policymakers, all the important conversations in the parliament are done in Dzongkha. But is everyone able to understand the Dzongkha that is spoken by some of them there? So it will benefit our country to set a requirement to test proficiency for a person in parliament who will be discussing our country.”
The testing system is being developed by DDC with support from the National Statistics Bureau, the Centre for Bhutan and GNH Studies (CBS) and language experts. Once finished, the system will be put to trial in colleges before being used at offices and institutes. The system is developed in reference to the international based test IELTS, Common European Reference Framework and language evaluation practises in Bhutan.