Tour: Issues concerning central schools in the country were the highlight of the discussion during the Opposition Leader (Dr) Pema Gyamtsho’s visit to Trongsa yesterday.

A businessman, on behalf of the business community of Trongsa, said that some of the criteria for central schools like preference given to those living within the five-kilometre radius were unfair.

Taking an example in Trongsa, he said the Thromde sacrificed a good portion of land for school construction given the importance of the school in educating children.

“The school benefited us until last year but not anymore,” he said. “This has left people in the town unhappy as their children are ineligible for the central school boarding facility.”

He added that instead people from outside benefited from the central school in Trongsa.

(Dr) Pema Gyamtsho said that central school issues were highlighted in most dzongkhags that he visited. “As the opposition, we raised the issue of sustainability of the central school system,” he said, while emphasising that the concept should not have started just because there was help today. “What happens after that is the question.”

The Opposition Leader also said that there are some 170,000 students in the country of which around 20,000 enjoy central school facilities.

“Our education policy is to provide the same quality of education to every child in the country but we are doubtful about children being squeezed in limited space,” he said, adding that people are still not aware of the amount of expenditure incurred in central schools so far.

The Opposition Leader informed people that self-reliance was crucial for strengthening the country’s independence. To be self reliant, he said the country must increase income and reduce expenditure.

He said the opposition suggested that the government make some changes in the policy whereby students should be enrolled in central schools only upon completion of class seven.

Young children kept in the boarding schools, he said would deprive them from parental love and care.

“Children have many things to learn from their parents besides education in the school,” he said. “The impact of a mistake in the education policy will be felt only after generations.”

During the visit, people also expressed concerns on the difficulty of getting loan from the Business Opportunity and Information Centre (BOiC) besides queries on public debt, a burning issue at the transition stage between the ruling and the opposition parties.

Other issues discussed were the Bhutan, Bangladesh, India and Nepal agreement that failed to get the required votes at the last session of the Parliament. The OL said that it would be tabled in the upcoming session to be discussed again.

The Opposition Leader also cautioned people to refrain from spreading rumours, which is the root cause of disharmony in the society. He also said that it was  the right time for him to meet people in the dzongkhags with the government having completed half of its tenure.

Trongsa is the 18th dzongkhag that (Dr) Pema Gyamtsho has visited so far. He will be visiting Lhuentse next.

Nima Wangdi | Trongsa