To minimise youth related problems, reduce dependency on relatives and improve academic performances the education ministry issued an executive order to allow boarding facilities in cities and towns for both private and public schools and also private hostels.
Boarding schools were earlier not allowed in Thimphu to reduce rural to urban migration.
Four private Higher Secondary Schools (HSS) Nima HSS, ELC HSS, Pelkhil HS in Thimphu and Kuendrup HSS in Gelephu, has expressed interest to provide boarding for the 2017 academic session out of which three schools were given in-principle approval as per the criteria set by the ministry to have enough space to accommodate hostel, dining hall and kitchen.
In terms of quality assurance, the school planning and coordination division deputy chief programme officer Yeshey Lhendup said, “The quality will be determined by services provided by individual schools and fee charge. MoE as a regulatory body will constantly monitor the services according to the fees charged”.
“Kuendrup HSS has been offering boarding as Paying Guest, now with change in Policy the school wants to take it as part of school system,” he said.
Nima HSS and ELC HS started boarding facilities this year. Currently the school is providing boarding for only girls where about 20 girls are already availing the facility. “We wished to start slow and learn before we offer boarding for boys too,” said Education Advisor of Nima HSS, Dechen Dolkar.
To ensure quality the school will be monitoring and reviewing system to constantly look into physical comfort like quality rooms and beds with mattresses, cupboards, geysers and separate shower rooms.
The main challenge currently in providing the extensive facility for borders she said is in trying to provide good facilities and services at reasonable costs.
The ECL HS has started with 34 students availing the boarding facility this year enrolling one-third of the student population.
“Bearing in mind the low volume-high value principle that the school seeks to promote as one of its salient features, quality is ensured via highly structured and thoughtfully designed schedule of programs and activities that will be closely regulated, supervised and monitored for the holistic growth, development and engagement of the students outside of school hours starting from wake up time all through until bed-time,” the officiating principal Mr. Tenzin Dorji said.
Meanwhile Pelkhil High school is working on design and infrastructure preparation to implement the facility by the 2018 academic session. “We are done with survey amongst students since last year which shows that 30 percent of our students are not staying with their parents,” said the school principal Umesh Kumar.
“We hope to provide additional facilities such as WiFi connection and geysers and we are yet to decide whether it should be a dormitory or hostel and we are also yet to decide whether to keep only girls or both girls and boys” he said adding, “There are numerous plans in pipeline, but we are sure to get it implemented by next year.”