Regardless of infrastructure shortcomings 

Education: Despite many central schools not having additional infrastructure ready, with the construction of some infrastructure not yet even started, classes in the newly established central schools will commence from February 16.

The beginning of the 2015 academic session will see the commencement of 24 pilot central schools.

For instance, Dorokha central school in Samtse will go ahead with its present number of classrooms and accommodate all students in its existing hostels.

On Monday, measurements for student uniforms will be conducted and submitted to the dzongkhag for tendering.

Mendrelgang central school in Tsirang, which was formed after merging Mendrelgang MSS and primary school, requires about 18 additional classrooms to function as a central school.

Tsirang district education officer, Sangay Chophel said since the two schools have been merged due to proximity, it would not be possible to accommodate all students in the classes.

The Primary school’s U-shaped structure will be dismantled to make way for new structures.

“For the time being we might have to conduct regular classes in temporary sheds,” he said. “It would take a month or two before we’ve all the stationaries and uniforms ready.”

Mendrelgang will have the highest number of students at 1,115, according to the education ministry’s enrolment projection.

Of the 24 central schools, only three – Pakshikha in Chhukha, Wangbama in Thimphu and Zhemgang central school – will have classes XI and XII.

The Wangbama and Thrimshing central schools are the only two new schools, while eight of the schools have been merged or upgraded.

For Wangbama central school, three sections each of class IX and XI students will be brought from Genekha LSS, Chaamgang Yangtsegatsel LSS, Khasadrapchu MSS and Kuzukchen MSS.

Students for class XII will be brought from Thimphu thromde schools that have excess students. It will have just an arts stream this year.

Wangbama principal, Sonam Drukpa said pre-primary to VII classes would continue in the existing Genekha LSS, which is about three kilometres away from Wangbama.

“We’ll function from two locations,” he said. “It’s not a big challenge but without the new structures ready, it will take time to set up culturally.”

The education ministry has recently announced vacancies for 80 supporting staff to be placed in these central schools. Of the 80, 23 each would be recruited as cooks, caregivers and sports instructors. Another 14 would be hired as washers, nine as sweepers and two caretakers.

On February 4, the government also approved a budget of Nu 208M for supply of uniform, stationary, bedding, shoes, socks, and sports items, among others.

The ministry’s policy and planning officials said all the items that would be provided free of cost in a central school were supposed to be ready when students join school on Monday. But due to the tendering procedures, there will be a one-two month delay.

Initially, the plan was to provide uniforms, shoes and socks to day scholars, officials said, but because of huge cost implications it was decided to provide only day meals and stationaries.

The officials also said there will be an increase in the number of boarding students.

“We may not take 80 percent of the enrolment as hoteliers, until the new infrastructures are ready,” he said. “Capital works will take time, in terms of acquiring land, surveying, master planning and tendering.”

By Nirmala Pokhrel