Kelki School, Trashigang

Many private schools will discontinue higher school sections next year

Usha Drukpa/ Thimphu

With the removal of cut-off points and absorption of class X students in public schools, many private schools across the country will be discontinuing higher school sections from 2023. 

According to sources, most schools, like Sonam Kuenphen Higher Secondary School in Bumthang, Utpal Higher Secondary School in Paro, ELC, Kelki Higher Secondary School, Nima Higher Secondary School, and Rinchen Higher Secondary School are closing their high school sections.

Many private schools are functioning with below 100 students in class XII and in order to survive, some schools have started primary sections and class X to attract class X repeaters.

Education Minister, Jai Bir Rai, shared with The Bhutanese that almost 17,500 class X students will be appearing for class X in the upcoming board exams, of which 13,000 class X students are in the public schools and 4,000 are class X students who failed and some are repeaters in class X, and so if all or most students pass their exams, there will be no seats in the public schools, and eventually they will go to the private schools.

The Principal of Rinchen High School in Thimphu said the school will be discussing the issue of closing down of high school, as there are no students in class XI, and with just 130 students in class XII.

She said if there are not enough students then ultimately the school has to close down because it has to depend on the number of students. The school has been reducing the number of teachers as well.

She shared that they are not able to come up with a solution, and they are also discussing whether to start the primary section next year, and not shut down completely as the proprietor has an emotional attachment to the school. However, the school is exploring every option for its survival in the market.

This decision has impacted a lot of lives, she added.

Norbu Academy in Phuentsholing will manage to survive because they have classes from primary to middle secondary. It is likely that there will be no higher sections in 2023 given the number of students. Norbu Academy has 85 students in class XII and there are no students in class XI. However, they have plans for next year.

Similarly, the Proprietor of Kelki High School said they are doomed now and can’t continue. Kelki just has 100 students in class XII, and all of these students are on government scholarships.

Kelki School in Thimphu started primary sections and it is not doing well since Thimphu has many primary schools. If this also does not work, there is no option then to shut down the entire school, itself.

The Proprietor said every private school is going through difficult times, and there are no solutions now and the schools will not be able to solve the issue as well.

Kelki School in Trashigang functioned for just two years, and it was completely closed down last year. The Proprietor also shared that Kelki School in Thimphu is under lease and they have to pay rent and land tax.

Meanwhile, MoE has officially not received any information about discontinuing or closing down of private schools in the country.

Also, their decision may depend on class X results, so the schools might have to wait until next year.

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