The Kingdom of Bhutan is a landlocked, constitutional monarchy in south Asia and is bordered by India and China. The population is 682,321 and the literacy rate is 47%. Dzongkha is the official language, and several Tibetan and Nepalese dialects are also spoken.
Evidence of human inhabitation of present-day Bhutan can be traced back to 2000 BC. The area was inhabited by warring tribes until they unified in the early 17th century by the Tibetan Lama Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. In 1865, under the Treaty of Sinchulu, Bhutan ceded some land to British India in exchange for an annual subsidy. In 1907, the British helped to set up a monarchy in Bhutan. In 1910, a treaty allowed the British to direct Bhutan's external affairs while not interfering with internal affairs. In 1947, with the independence of India from Britain, the India government took over the direction of Bhutan's external affairs. In 1949, and Indo-Bhutan accord returned the lands ceded in 1865, and, in 2007, a new accord gives Bhutan more autonomy in its foreign affairs. The country's first parliament was elected in March 2008, and the King ratified the first constitution in July 2008.
The Ministry of Education oversees Bhutan's education system.
Education is free and compulsory from ages 6 to 17. Primary school (Grades I - VI) is 6 years beginning at age 6. At the end of the 6th year, students sit for the All Bhutan Primary Certificate Examination.
Lower secondary school (Grades VII - IX) is 3 years. At the end of Grade IX, students sit for an external examination leading to the Bhutan Certificate of Secondary Education. Upper secondary school (Grades X - XII) is 3 years. At the end of Grade XII, students sit for an external examination leading to the Bhutan Higher Secondary Education Certificate.
Post-secondary education is offered at the Royal University of Bhutan and its constituent colleges. Admission to post-secondary education requires sufficient scores on the Bhutan Higher Secondary Education Certificate, and some programs may require an entrance examination. The University and its colleges offer 2-year Diploma and 3-year Bachelors programs. Bachelors (Honours) programs require an additional year of work following a Bachelors degree.
Graduate programs include the Post-Graduate Diploma which is 1.5 - 2 years following a Bachelors degree, and the Master of Education which is awarded after 4 years of part-time study. A Bachelors degree and 2 years of school management experience are required for admission.
Doctoral programs are not currently offered in Bhutan.
Primary and secondary school teachers are training in a 3-year Bachelor of Education program at one of the Colleges of Education. A Bhutan Higher Secondary Education Certificate is required for admission.