Education: Even as schools have less then two months to close for the academic year, some central schools are yet to get washer men and caregivers.

In schools like Mendrelgang Central School in Tsirang, two washing machines were bought months ago but have remained unopened for the want of a washer man. School authorities fear of the machine getting damaged if operated without proper care.

While in absence of a washer man and caregiver, parents of children below class III visit during weekends to wash clothes and bathe their children in the hostel.  Parents from each village take turn to come to school during weekends.

Principals of some central schools raised the issue of caregivers and washer men during a post-immersion meeting in Thimphu last month.

Chief human resource officer with the education ministry, Kinley Gyeltshen said the requisition for caregivers and washer men has been put to the Royal Civil Service Commission. As soon as the commission approves it, he said, caregivers and washer men would be recruited.

Meanwhile, Mendrelgang Central School has about nine students from Rangthaling village. Parents of the nine students have decided to take turns to visit the school to bathe and do laundry for all children.

The school was formed after merging Mendrelgang MSS and primary school. It still requires about 18 additional classrooms to function as a full-fledged central school.

Principal Chaxing Norbu said although requisition was submitted to the dzongkhag administration for recruitment of a washer man, the vacancy announced was for a dry sweeper.

“Without a caregiver and a washer man, it is difficult to attend to small children,” he said. “We’re unable to provide as much care and attention even though we are managing.”

However, some parts of care giving are substituted with the formation of buddy system in the school. Senior students adopt students of lower classes and help them with studies and take care of them in the hostel.

The school is also in need of a driver. While a new utility vehicle was bought last month, it is hardly used.

“We’re hopeful all will be in place by the next academic year,” the principal said. “Right now we would make the best use of the available facility.”

Nirmala Pokhrel