More than 250 needy students received monetary help from the Ministry of Education (MoE) this year. The needy students received Nu 2,500 each to buy school uniforms or school stationaries.
An official from Thromde Education Department, Thimphu Thromde said the help was provided to the needy students living below the poverty line. The initiative was taken sometime in April this year. Many of the students who received the help are orphans, and others with parents who do not have a proper source of income.
There are 19 government schools in Thimphu, and after the survey, the Thromde found out that Changrigphel Primary School and Dechencholing Higher Secondary School have the maximum number students who are living below the poverty line.
Apart from Nu 2,500, girl children from class IV and above are provided with free sanitary pads and school stationaries for all the needy students.
During the survey, the parents and guardians of the needy students expressed their gratitude for the initiative and help.
The teachers in each of the schools have adopted at least one needy students and they are provided with financial support and buy them rations and also guide them.
Kuenselphodrang Primary school in Thimphu is one of the schools where 22 needy students have received help. The Principal, Karma Tshewang, said the pandemic has made them aware of how their children were living their life. The school shares that half of the students are from the broken families.
During the first lockdown in the country, the teachers went to students’ houses because some students were not able to participate in the online classes. The teachers were surprised to find that the needy students did not even have one proper meal in a day.
Looking at the situation, the school teachers started collecting money to support them. Few students were given smartphones in order to access to the Google Classroom, especially for the upper primary students as their parents are not able to afford the electronic gadgets to support them with the online teaching learning.
The school has not only provided monetary support to the students by the teachers, but a few of the students were also adopted by them. The school has an adoption policy.
The school does all it can to help the needy children. The Principal said those students who are badly affected are still getting financial support from their teachers. Some of the students are not even able to buy school uniform. There are donors who have donated school shoes to the children.
Generally people think that a family who can afford to live in Thimphu are average earners, but the reality is different. Teachers at Kuenselphodrang Primary School found that the living condition of their students were very pathetic. The reason is the rural-urban migration. Several students have badly suffered, they added.
The school has already submitted the details of the needy students and they will be receiving Nu 2,500 a month to help them during the pandemic.
The Principal said that during the first lockdown, it was difficult for small school students to work on online teaching learning, but now if lockdown happens again, the parents, teachers and students are well prepared. The school insists students to keep their books at home because a lockdown can happen at anytime.
As for the unvaccinated school children, Karma Tshewang said half the population are school-goers, and in case an outbreak happens in one of the primary schools then whole family will be affected.
For now the school is making sure that they follow all the health protocols. The body temperature of all the students are screened, and parents of any students have fever are called immediately, and noted by the COVID-19 focal person. Managing COVID-19 protocol with the support from teachers and DeSuups in the school is not a problem, said the Principal.