Phurpa Lhamo

As school reopening nears, schools in Thimphu are overburdened with new admission demands.

In addition to hundreds of online applications made to Thimphu Thromde, some parents are approaching the school administrations in person to seek admission for their children.

A principal of a school in Thimphu said that the rush was immense. He added that including applications forwarded by the thromde, there are around 100 applications from outside Thimphu. “When the zone-wise movement was allowed, parents came with hard copies of documents for applications.”

The school has decided to sort out the external applications on April 11.

The principal said that all students would be accommodated based on valid documents and genuine reasons. Only after sorting genuine cases, the school will provide admission to students seeking admission from schools in Thimphu. “The increase in admission is because many have migrated to Thimphu and have sought employment in the capital. Mainly because of that, we have heavy pressure.”

In a lower secondary school in Thimphu, the admission pressure is particularly high for class VII.

The principal of the school said that with around five sections, each class had over 40 students. This is an increase from around 35 students in each class last year.

However, the number is expected to further increase, as admissions haven’t been completed yet.

“So I feel that the sections will also increase to six this year,” the principal said.

The rush for admissions and a high number of students in grade VII is attributed to the new normal curriculum (now called the national school curriculum), the new assessment criteria, and online teaching methods adopted in the previous year.

Last year, the education ministry introduced the new assessment criteria, which required students between IV and XII grades to score 40 percent each in continuous assessments (CA) and on written examinations.

A principal said that with increase in failure rate more students were retained. He added that the failure could also be an impact of online classes held in 2020 and the national school curriculum.

In all schools, school administration is expecting a major impact on the teacher-student ratio due to the increased admissions.

Another principal said that in all levels of grades, admission had increased. He said that with the already increasing teacher attrition rate in Bhutan, the increase in admission would have an impact on the teaching-learning process.

He added that for lower classes students, the number is increasing to around 35 students per teacher from the ideal number of 24 students per teacher. For higher students, the number could increase to around 40 students a teacher.

“When the number of students is more, quality will decrease,” the principal said.

According to a principal in Thimphu, the thromde had directed the schools to study new admissions to further study the requirement of teachers and additional resources.

He added that, if need be, the thromde is planning to provide tents for classrooms and additional teachers.