For the first time, the many students who engage in productive works during their school vacations to help their parents and community will be acknowledged and credited for their efforts.
The Director of Department of Curriculum Research and Development (DCRD) in Paro under the education ministry (MoE) Kesang Choden Dorji said that Socially Useful and Productive Works (SUPW) periods have been there in schools for a long time but considering the winter works is a first.
The MoE has decided to take up such initiatives and move one step ahead and include the works that children do during winter vacations. The ministry thought that it’s important to acknowledge them and at the same time it will set some precedence and engage students meaningfully.
Most of the students are found helping their parents on the farm, some earn money to buy school uniform and stationery for themselves and their siblings, do voluntary works, engage in community services and carry out other meaningful activities.
The main intention for the initiative is to change students’ attitudes toward blue collar jobs and other manual works.
The students who are involved in the winter works will be given a form to fill up. In the form it is clearly stated what kind of work they have done, details of duration of work they have done and it has to be endorsed by the employer and counter signed by the parents or the guardian.
For this initiative the ministry has a toll free number 185 where students, parents or guardians can get information. Principles were also informed about it to disseminate information to the students.
The Director of DCRD said they don’t intend to follow students and crosscheck what kind of activities they are doing but the form will be circulated to the schools and even uploaded in the ministry’s website.
“For those who are in remote areas, we are not making it rigid but freedom is there for the schools to maneuver it. The students later can come to school fill up the form and submit it also,” she said.
In addition there is no deadline fixed to submit the form instead the ministry has set a whole year to submit the form.
The SUPW scores will however not manifest as plus points for these students in their academics or the job market. “It’s a little too early to comment on it. And one cannot foresee the relation with winter works and permanent jobs they will take up in future,” said the DCRD Director.
Most of the students ministry officials observed took up works like transporting oranges to auction yards, manual labor on the road sides, parking fee collection.
However if the students have taken up something exceptional then they are eligible for scholarships.
So far SUPW for the students which is planned, organized and supervised in schools is only for a short duration and the winter works during holidays is not supervised by any school or ministry officials. The SUPW starts from Class IX and above in schools.