The jury is still out on the extended summer vacation program

With a major change in academic session since this year, the first ever month long summer vacation has been experienced by both teachers and students.

Although no assessment for the schools has been done so far, the education ministry is optimistic about the major change brought about in the education system to be a positive step.

To stay engaged in the long summer vacation, Jigme Losel Lower Secondary School made it mandatory for its students to read books. The school principal Chuki Drukpa said the school wants to initiate more activities for the students in future. “This will let the students engage in their personal hobbies.”

She said the long summer vacation can be very helpful for the students who can engage themselves with meaningful activities and hobbies. On the other hand, she said it’s a disadvantage if the parents are unorganized and don’t know how to engage their children during the vacation. “That’s why it’s important that we initiate to keep our children engaged during the vacation”

The Principal of Loseling Middle Secondary School (LMSS) Mr Tshering said the longer winter vacation is better. “There were also some complaints regarding the road conditions due to rainfall which affected the vacations for the students and teachers who were not able to do work and travel”. He said there wasn’t any activity this summer vacation for students since the teachers were involved in professional development workshop and also due to involvement in the housing and population census. “I think the education ministry will come up with some meaningful activities to engage the students during the summer vacation” he added.

However, Changangkha Middle School vice Principal said she didn’t see any effective result of having a longer summer vacation. “I personally didn’t see any difference in experiencing a longer summer vacation” she said that the teachers were involved in professional development programs whereas the students were involved in certain activities which were very similar to previous years.

She however said the longer vacation can be of immense help if the parents and students know how to engage meaningfully.

While many students in the rural area spent their summer vacation helping their parents with the regular household chores, some had taken advantage of the extended vacation to do multitasking. Babita Gurung who studies in 10th standard in Dagana spent her vacation doing household chores, selling vegetables on the highway and taking math tuition from her elder brother. “It was a fruitful vacation for me because I could help my parents, study and I even read my first book”

For 14 year old Karma Yangzom who is studying in ninth grade in Gesarling Central School, her vacation hasn’t been any different than the previous vacations. “I spent my vacation doing usual activities at home but I got more time to complete my project works”. “I always wish the winter vacation to be longer because most of the works can be done during winter since the weather would be favorable and dry”

Anita Sharma who is studying in 11th standard in Yangchenphug spent her vacation with parents in Phuentsholing. She said she spent most of the time hanging out with friends and reading books. However she wishes that the winter vacation is longer.

While one advantage has been of some youth being able to help their farmer parents with paddy transplantation the real test of the new vacation system will come in winter when students and teachers have to report early to schools.

The Chief Coordinator of the School Program Division Mr Kaka said, “We might have to do the assessment along with feedback from the schools by the end of this academic session”. He added this is to study the impact and initiate necessary activities in order to insure the students spent a fruitful vacation.

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