An earlier article exposing the high fees charged by government schools under the Thimphu Thromde, published in this paper, has garnered much debate among the people on the social media. The school fees range from Nu 1,700 to Nu 17,000 per student. Some people wanted to know how the government schools in Thimphu could get away with collecting fees as high as Nu 17,000 that goes against the education policy.
Thromde Education officer, Namgay Dorji, who carried out the research on the fee structure in 19 government schools in Thimphu in July last year said, “The research on fee structure was carried out after parents complained to the Thimphu Thromde that the government schools in Thimphu are charging fees, much above mandatory fee approved by the Ministry of Education.”
Namgay Dorji said his research is based on the data collected from 19 government schools under Thimphu Thromde. “ Though we cannot name the schools, schools are collecting fees which is as high as Nu 35,000 if we include uniform, tracksuit and evening tuition,” he added.
Based on the data collected from 19 schools under Thimphu Thromde using questionnaire format, it was found that the government schools in Thimphu have different categories of collections such as; admission fee, caution fee, school rimdro, semso, games and sports, sanitation, wet sweeper, name tag, farewell, school diary, exam fee, magazine, picnic, tea and snacks, academic, classroom, haircut and others.
Therefore, the government schools in Thimphu are collecting fees ranging from Nu 1,700 to Nu 35, 950 which includes uniform, tracksuit, half-pants, T-shirt, stationeries, evening tuition fees and others.
The research found that 9 schools collect fee ranging from Nu 1,000 to Nu 5,000, while 3 of the schools collect fees ranging from Nu 5,000 to Nu 10, 000. There are 2 schools collecting Nu 10, 000 to 15, 000, and 2 schools collect fees ranging from Nu 30, 000 to Nu 35, 000. The remaining 3 schools out of the 19 schools studied collect fees ranging from Nu 15, 000 to Nu 20,000.
The 15th Annual Principals’ Consultative Meeting in Phuentsholing agreed that schools should collect fees not more than Nu 700 in a year including the mandatory fee approved by MoE.
With the regulation on the mandatory school fee and miscellaneous contributions now in effect, all the primary students, lower secondary students, middle secondary students and higher secondary students will be required to pay a sum of Nu 335, Nu 405 and Nu 500 respectively, irrespective of the school where the student is studying.
Thromde said, “This would make well facilitated and good performing schools equally accessible to students from the low income group.
These recommendations will not only reduce the pressure on low income households but will also contribute to achieving an equitable access to education, higher enrollment rate, decrease dropout rate, narrowed achievement gap and ultimately Gross National Happiness.”