Yangchen C Rinzin

The education ministry’s target to provide a computer for 10 students in secondary schools and one computer for 30 students in primary schools might finally materialise.

This is because the government plans to equip all schools with at least one computer lab by March 2021.

Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering said it while presenting the State of the Nation report on December 12.

As of this year, only 302 public schools have access to computers, which is an increase of 49 schools compared to 2019. There are 6,542 computers. On average, there is a computer for every 21 students, according to the Annual Education Statistics (AES) 2020.

As of today, 23 students share one computer in higher secondary schools.

There are 609 schools in the country including extended classrooms and about 170,000 students.

With an increase of four schools, a total of 30 private schools have access to computers with a ratio of 1:17.

Meanwhile, Lyonchhen also announced that the government is planning to introduce coding as a compulsory subject from pre-primary to class XII beginning next academic session.

“For this, a new ICT curriculum framework has been developed,” he said. “I’ve already discussed with the education minister, secretary and other experts to make ICT as a third language for all classes and students must pass the ICT exam to be promoted.”

A total of 271 ICT teachers and 118 general teachers have been trained to teach ICT in primary classes, according to the report. There is also a plan to train more than 400 additional teachers during this winter vacation.

However, with regard to internet connectivity in schools, the AES report showed that about 35.9 percent of both public and private schools in the country do not have internet connectivity. 

Some of the facilities in schools that are provided to improve the quality of education are proper water facilities to ensure the children’s health and education attendance. As per the AES report, about 68.4 percent of the water sources in schools are piped water, while 16.9 percent is through protected spring, and 0.2 percent of the water source is dug well.

But, in terms of functionality of water supply, only 36.5 percent had proper water supply ranging from five to seven days in a week. About 81 percent of the schools have adequate drinking water.

More than 50 percent of the schools have access to flush toilets today. 

In terms of access to roads, only 18.1 percent of the public schools do not have motorable roads. All private schools have access to motorable roads.

About 10.6 percent of public schools do not have electricity while all private schools have electricity, as per the AES report.

There are 88,320 students benefitting from the school-feeding programme as of 2020 of which, 40,646 students avail three meals, 33,531 avail two meals and 14,143 students avail one meal. There are 45,486 female students and 42,834 male students benefitting from the school feeding programme in schools.