Thursday, November 17, 2011

Cyclostyling in Style!

Compared to Canada, exams in Bhutan are high-stakes, high-security, and highly time-consuming. Teaching of new material is suspended in favour of review a full month before exams begin. At that time, teachers must print their exam papers on a stencil cutter then submit each page to be run through our school's hand-cranked copier called a cyclostyle:

750 students times an average of six taught subjects per grade times an average of ten pages per test means that poor Tshering Phuntsho will have cranked that wheel forty-five thousand times before the printing is complete.

It then takes a Fordian assembly line of teachers to arrange all the sheets of each test paper in the correct order, staple it, then stamp it with the school seal.

Even in my full Canadian winter gear my fingers were often too cold to pick up only one sheet of paper at a time.

I'm more worried about the students, though. During midterms, the exam halls were ovens. Now they are perfect refrigerators. Teaching, learning, and living in Bhutan truly is all about the extremes.


  1. You and life there---both amazing!!!
    Bless you. Mom

  2. We really do not know how well things are here.
    And the students are always looking so happy.
    So glad to be able to see this blog. love you and staywell till we see you. Germaine

  3. still an eye opener you are amazing
    take care