While agreeing that the idea is good, members were not satisfied with certain issues and the education minister’s responses 

Education: In response to a question raised by the Kengkhar-Weringla MP, Rinzin Jamtsho, education minister, Mingbo Dukpa, agreed that central schools are irregularly distributed, at the National Assembly session, yesterday.

Lyonpo Mingbo Dukpa said that the cabinet during the discussion on the central school idea, planned to set up such schools in all the 20 dzongkhags. However, he said that establishing central schools in the country is an ongoing process and the initiative was just over seven months old.

Lyonpo added that the establishment of central schools will vary from dzongkhag to dzongkhag considering various factors like the size and population of that area.

However, Nubi Tangsibji MP, Nidup Zangpo said that prioritizing equal distribution of central schools in each dzongkhag is important. “In seven months of implementing the concept of central schools, some of the dzongkhags already have six central schools while some don’t even have a single central school,” he said.

With two already in operation and three in the pipeline, Samdrupjongkhar got a new central school in October earlier this year, taking the total number of central schools to six in the dzongkhag. With 11 gewogs and six central schools, the dzongkhag has the most in the country.

The impact of central schools on budget distribution to other schools and the sustainability of the schools was also questioned by various MPs to which Lyonpo Mingbo Dukpa said that introducing central schools is one of the three components of the School Reform policy, which is aimed at improving the quality of education.

He added that the government of India funds the capital expenditure for the central schools while the recurrent cost was being met from the domestic revenue. Labour minister, Ngeema Sangay Tshempo said that the agricultural practices at the central schools as a part of the co-curricular activities for the students will also generate some funds for the school. Lamgong Wangchang MP, Khandu Wangchuk said that the quality of education might be compromised while students are engaged in such activities at the school.

The House received mixed feedback on the concept of the school from the members. Opposition leader, Pema Jamtsho (Phd) said that while the opposition supports the idea of the central school in the country, issues like the sustainability of the schools, equality in terms of admission and wholesome education of the child is still unclear.

Concluding his remarks, the education minister informed the House that the government was well aware of the concerns raised by the members and such issues were also discussed in the cabinet on several occasions. The members in general agreed on a common consensus that the central school programme was beneficial but concerns were expressed on issues of implementation.

Younten Tshedup