Govt Schools in urban areas congested as more students are absorbed

After the government’s decision to absorb all the class X pass students into government schools, some of the public schools especially in the urban areas are congested where they have around 50 students in one classroom.

The Education Minister Jai Bir Rai said there are 133 government schools across the country, and students and parents want their children to study in schools in urban areas such as in Thimphu, Paro, Punakha and Damphu, where as many schools in the rural parts are functioning even without the required number of students. No students want to go there and study, the education minister said.

Talking about the student teacher ratio, schools in urban areas have around 1:50 whereas in rural areas, it is 1:30. The education minister said when students move from rural to urban areas, the ratio starts increasing. The minister said there is no question of the quality of education going down.

The education ministry is also increasing seats in those schools where they have more than 40 students in one class otherwise it should be 34 students in one classroom.

The proprietors of the private schools shared that the government has absorbed even all the Pass Certificate Not Awarded (PCNA) students from private schools. Earlier they never allowed the kids to repeat if they failed. Now, despite all the congestion, they are even taking back PCNA students. Besides hurting the private high schools, this will also damage the public schools in the long run the proprietors say.

The education minister also stated that almost 17,500 class X students will be appearing for class X for the upcoming board exams. There are 13,000 class X students in the public schools and 4,000 class X students who failed and some repeaters in class X. This would be the first time that the huge number of class X students will sit for Board Exams otherwise it was just 12,500 students who sat for class X board exams till now.

It is a big loss for the government as the expenditure goes up to 70 million for conducting a one-time exam. Also, if all the students pass their exams, there will be no seats in the public schools and eventually they will go to private schools, said the education minister.

The education minister said the very reasons for removing class X cut off points is that children should at least have class XII certificate and no students should drop out because those students who are not able to continue their studies after class X are mostly in the low income group. At the same time, the underperforming students require hard work and investment which takes time, energy and resources, the education minister added.

Although the government has absorbed all the students in the government schools, the education minister said they have allowed private schools to start class IX and X for those class X repeaters and also for those who wish to self-finance themselves to study in private schools.

Private schools have also been given approval to increase the class XII capacity and also the ministry has de-capped the school fees. If they want to increase or decrease they can do so, but they have to inform the ministry, the minister added.

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