Exams are round the corner, where have the textbooks gone?

Rinchen Higher Secondary School ( Photo by: Upasana Dahal)

With just a month left for their mid-term examinations, students of some classes of Rinchen Higher Secondary School in Thimphu are worried as they do not have textbooks in some subjects yet.

The students The Bhutanese talked to said they do not have Dzongkha, English, and  commerce (supplementary) textbooks.

The Principal of the school, Tshering Dorji, said the school is aware of the shortage of the books and is trying to address the problem. The school is expecting to get the textbooks this month, which will be sent from Lhuntse.

Students are being asked to borrow the books from their friends for the time being, but they are not happy with the interim solution.

“We are new in the school and are not close to the old students and some teachers shame us infront of other classes when we go to get the books,” said a class  XII student.

Thinley Wangchuk, a student, said the students have lodged complaints in the suggestion box several times, but it did not help them get the textbooks.

The principal feels that insufficent books in private schools is obvious because the number of students cannot be planned before the admissions unlike in government schools.

The school administration had projected to take in  800 students for this year and requisitioned for textbooks accordingly. However, the school had to enrol an additional 150 students. The school sought help from schools in Paro, Punakha and Thimphu to get the textbooks to no avail.

The school brought as many textbooks as it could get from the neighboring schools, said the principal.

He said the problem cannot be called a shortage of the textbooks, but a flaw in the administration, adding that some schools hold a lot of extra textbooks in their stores.

Parents and guardians of the students without textbooks are worried although there are no official complaints made so far.

Tsheten Gyeltshen, a guardian of a class XII student, said the school should be responsible for the problem. He said it is the school’s negligence and the performance of a student depends on the availability of textbooks.

“My nephew’s exam this year will decide his life. I am very worried,” he said: “After paying a huge sum of money, it should be the school’s responsibility to provide the textbooks.”

The parents and guardians of the students without the texbooks said they would be at fault if they do not pay their children’s school fee on time, but when it comes to the shoratge of textbooks the school should be accountable.

The principal said the school wrote to the authority concerned requesting for adequate number of textbooks but could not get them. He says all authorities concerned should be accountable not the school alone.

Meanwhile, the students say they are facing several problems without the textbooks. “We are worried, but helpless,” said a class XII student.


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  1. I think the problem addressed here” shortage of textbooks” is mainly due to negligence of the school….School is playing with the lives of the young students who has higher dreams in their life. No excuse is good enough for the loss that the students will bear all their life. The excuse just now is that they didn’t accounted for additional students who were enrolled beyond the projected total. By gone is by gone.It would be better if school authority didn’t repeat this mistake again, and be prepared for the extra students who may get enrolled in the school in next academic year. As for the immediate solution i would have suggested students to scan textbooks but it is illegal…

  2. why are the kids complaining so much about not having textbooks. There are about 50-60 students in each class and they are sitting very close to one another. They can easily put one textbook between 3 kids and all can read from the same page. Simple solution.

    Real question is why did they choose to join a classroom with 60 students? Were they trying to save money?

  3. This issue of “text books shortage” is just a sentence in a story. I feel that the root cause of the story, if we go north to dig, is “MOE’s Negligence”. I studied in 4 schools, attended 2 colleges and taught in 3 different schools. I saw this issue all along the way. I changed schools, changed principals, changed syllabus, but the ministry never changed.

    Let me come to the gist of the matter; The ministry updates with records of students every twice a year. Can it not update the printers so as how many texts to print? The ministry needs to wake up, if it does not want the quality of education to sleep. An attachment of the database of students strength, emailed by the ministry to the printers/publishers/distributors will solve the problem.
    And ting ting sir, here we r reading about textbooks and not sandwich. A textbook can be shared among kids in class, i agree. But what will they do at home during revision and assignments? should they just count the squares in the ceiling and sing chinese?

  4. Ministry of education shuold interfer in this issue. Review the quality of education in all private schools.

  5. can  students go for e-learning programmes  in Bhutanese schools.

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