Yangyel Lhaden

The Ministry of Education (MoE) will conduct the board exams for Classes X and XII as scheduled from February 14 to 28.

The ministry issued a notification yesterday asking schools in the country to operate in self-containment zone immediately.

The notification also mandates the dzongkhag and thromdes to make necessary arrangements for students to take the examination.

It also stated that boarding schools should admit day scholars as boarders immediately, and all-day schools should make necessary arrangements like hostels and kitchen facilities to accommodate students on campus. “All students and teachers should be tested for Covid-19 before entering the school.”

Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering said that conducting board exams according to the schedule was necessary rather than postponing, as there’s no guarantee that the situation will improve. “We cannot keep on postponing the date because there are Covid-19 positive cases. It is better to conduct exams with the best control measures in place.”   

However, parents are raising concerns on social media platforms about day schools making accommodations for boarding facilities.

A parent said schools that do not have boarding facilities would not have the needed levels of nutrition, warmth, comfort, and hygiene.

Another parent said that in thromde schools, parents would be more responsible and better caregivers, and preferable to containing students in school. “Students can be quarantined at home and tested once every week with strict Covid-19 protocols in school.”

Education Minister Jai Bir Rai said that the ministry was also concerned with the issues raised by the parents, but those were secondary reasons and parents should be more concerned about letting their children take the exam. “Postponing the exam is an easy thing to do, but what if we cannot conduct the exams due to the situation even after a year?”

He said that arrangements were being made to provide the best facilities the government can, but people should also remember that due to lockdown, there are challenges to providing the best accommodation. “I request that students be flexible, as it is only for a month.”

According to the minister, each student will be paid a Nu 1,500 stipend for the month.

He said that parents could also support the government in providing better accommodations. “Many parents have volunteered to pay half or full stipends for their children.”

Meanwhile, all Class X and Class XII students, except for those having to undergo quarantine, have to report to their respective schools by January 31.