During the question hour of the National Assembly on May 22, the Member of Parliament, Nangnong-Shumar, Dechen Zangmo, asked the Education Minister to brief the House on the decision to provide children from outside the locality with uniforms, stationeries and boarding facilities in central schools, while the children living in the locality not provided the uniforms. She also questioned on the inadequate boarding facilities.
The Home Minister, in place of the Education Minister, said the government cannot provide all the facilities in the central schools immediately, but the problem will be solved as soon as possible. “As this (central schools) is introduced for the first time, there will be some problem but it is only temporary,” said the Home Minister Damcho Dorji.
He said that the government cannot provide the facilities, starting from food, clothing, stationeries and boarding facilities, to 100 percent of the students, but it is meeting the needs of 80 percent of the student, he added.
“I think, from my experience, student who stays near the school will be not willing to stay as a borderer, however, the poor family from the locality should not think that they are not provided with these facilities. If the people from locality cannot afford, we are going to provide with uniforms, stationeries and boarding facilities,” Lyonpo Damcho Dorji said.
He said that the concept of the central school is to provide quality education to the students so they get enough time to study, have access to sports and library facilities in central schools.
Citing an example, he said, students in some schools took about 2 hours to get to school and back home, hampering the students’ academic performance. “Some villages are far away from the school and students have to travel, crossing rivers and through the forest, which poses as a risk to their lives,” he added.
In addition, some villages do not have electricity which makes it difficult for some students to study. Lyonpo Damcho Dorji said that the central schools have been introduced to address the problems faced by students across the country.
He said the central schools have classes starting from Pre-Primary (PP) to class 10, and of the schools have class 12. The government has introduced about 24 central schools across the country this year, and every central school have about 800 students.
Lyonpo said some parents in the locality can afford to keep their children as day scholars, and the students from nearby places can also opt to stay as day scholars with the lunch being provided for them in the central school.
The Education Minister, Mingbo Dukpa, is currently out of the country, and therefore, the Home Minister presented the clarification to the House on the status of the central schools.