At the National Assembly’s question hour on January 15, Education Minister JB Rai clarified that the categorisation of students would not hamper or change the availability of central school facilities.

Maenbi-Tsaenkhar’s Member of Parliament, Choki Gyeltshen, asked the minister on the government’s plan to come up with new education system to create two categories.

Choki Gyeltshen said the government would create two categories – Classes PP-VI and Classes VII-XII. But would the students in both these categories be able to avail of the same facilities as that of the central schools, he asked.

“We used to have five categories earlier, but the new system is quite worrying because even with many categories, the schools still face many challenges,” Choki Gyeltshen said. “If there should be only two categories, does it mean the education ministry would close the rest of the schools?”

Lyonpo JB Rai said the categorisation definitely did not mean creating a new education system, but instead it was carried out to ensure that all students got equal access to the facilities.

He said the main idea of coming up with two categories was to let small children stay with the parents because there were a lot of issues shared by the parents when small children were enrolled in central schools.

“This also doesn’t mean that the ministry would be closing all other schools to open central schools,” Lyonpo said. “If there are enough students enrolled in the village or gewogs, we would support them, but we would have to close schools if there are no students and send them to nearby or central schools.”

He said although the former government had established 64 central schools, during his visit to the gewogs, he found that schools were still facing numerous challenges.

He said that based on the review, the ministry decided that it could come up with two categories.

“Even during the previous government there was problem where Classes PP-XII were kept together and parents were worried of small children being vulnerable to bullying,” Lyonpo said. “These are some reasons why we decided to categorise.”

Yangchen C Rinzin