School faculty members are of the opinion that stipends of boarding students need to be increased in the face of the Rupee crisis-induced environment.
The faculty made the submission on the premise that in the serious turn that Rupee crunch made in the country, vegetable import had been restricted whereby increase in price of local farm products naturally came to be.
They said in all this shift of dynamics, the stipend for the students in the boarding schools in the country remained constant which resulted in the nutritional deficiency cases.
Case in question to exemplify were students who died from chronic nutritional deficiency on December 3 and December 12 last year. This time ‘round it had hit Lhuentse Higher Secondary School.
Principal of Lhuentse Higher Secondary School is not sure, that low stipends played a role in the recent cases of nutrition deficiency.
He however agreed the stipend should be increased. “We have voiced the increase in stipend in the annual education conference,” he said.
The Vice Principal of Zhemgang Higher Secondary School said the stipend has been Nu 700 per head for three meals for a long time and this sum is not sufficient to provide rich diet in the present scenario.
For now the school has a quotation for one year where they have fixed the rate with the vegetable vendors whereby proper diet can be ensured.
A teacher form Martshala School said increase in stipend is the only way to address such a problem.
Tshering Dorji, the Principal of Richen Higher Secondary School, who has also worked a boarding school previously shares that he had a problem handling diet those days also with Nu 700 stipend.
“At present, prices of the commodities really shot-up and at an inflation of 14%, the same stipend is not logical,” he said.
He said bulk supply of vegetables for mess and stopping of supply of vegetables from India would have obviously accelerated the problem.
The students’ term in the boarding school is almost a year which means adhere with poor diet for just as long.
“Within that period health conditions will have seriously deteriorated,” he said.
“I am worried about the quality of the batch of future generation that will step out of such a setting,” the incumbent Rinchen Higher Secondary School said.
He said the government can appraise this situation right now when it has not heightened to a point of no return and save a good chunk of population from poor health. “Otherwise government will land up spending millions and billions to recover the health,” he added.
The Principal of Nangkor Higher Secondary School said at present the price of the commodity costing Nu 60 has reached 80 and price of Potatoes for instance had increased from Nu 12 to Nu 18.”
The Director General (DG) of the Education ministry said less stipends could be the reason that the school is not able to provide the rich diet.
After the health team and education team went for the investigation and discovered the nutritional deficiency case, they deduced “it was because of poor diet.”
However the DG said in March this year the ministry proposed the Ministry of Finance requesting for increased stipend (from Nu 700 to Nu1300).
“We are waiting for a positive response from the finance ministry,” he said.