Education minister Norbu Wangchuk (File photo)

Central schools are sustainable, says education minister

The education ministry would work towards establishing enough central schools in the country, according to education minister Norbu Wangchuk.  

Lyonpo said this in response to Dokar Sharpa MP Kezang Wangmo’s enquiry on the sustainability of central schools during the question hour session at the National Assembly on June 26. Khamdang Ramjar MP Sonam Dondup Dorjee asked the question on behalf of MP Kezang Wangmo who could not make it to the session. He said that the initiative of central school has benefited people but asked on the sustainability of the initiative. 

There are 63 central schools in the country today. 

Lyonpo Norbu Wangchuk said that the ministry does not find any sustainability issue with the central schools. He explained that there is no need to worry about the sustainability of the central schools as it cost just over three percent of the allocated budget to establish 63 central schools. 

To establish the new central schools in the country, the government spent about Nu 3.5 billion. 

In a year, central schools spend Nu 55,000 a student including the expenditure for teachers and staff while non-central schools spend Nu 45,000 a student. 

Lyonpo Norbu Wangchuk said that although the amount difference appears large, it is not worrying considering the benefits of central schools. “The difference in expenditure is Nu 10,000 a year and about Nu 1,000 a month.”

He said that the benefits of central schools have inspired the ministry to establish and give more importance to central schools. “We say that the future of the country is education and if we can provide quality education then our future will be strong.”

Lyonpo added that in central schools, there are teachers to take care of the students throughout the day. “They also do not have to worry about their uniform, food and bedding. Central schools can also make the students more disciplined. ” 

When all students, he said from various backgrounds are considered equal, the students would be able to receive quality education.  “There are cases of drug abuse among schools in towns but it has been a few years since we heard of drug abuse cases in central schools.”

According to the ministry, there are not enough central schools in the country.  

However, Lyonpo said that there are no plans to close down the non-central schools. He said that although the manual for district education officer 2009 states that the schools would be closed if they do not meet the required number of students, the government has never insisted any school to close. “When there were no students, few schools have been closed over the years after the government’s consultation with the parents.”

Karma Cheki

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