Education Minister JB Rai said that the ministry had plans and proposed budget to address issues concerning long distance between home and school and shortage of teachers.

This was in response to the question at the National Assembly by Phuentshogpelri’s MP Ganesh Ghimray.

Lyonpo said that some students had to walk long hours from home to school and lived in temporary huts near the school, which caused inconvenience to both the school and the students.

“If students have to walk for more than an hour to reach the school, they will be placed in central schools with boarding facilities,” he said.

The issue of the central schools lacking facilities to accommodate students was also raised. However, Lyonpo said that budget for infrastructure development and facilities were proposed to the government by the ministry.

For instance, for the three central schools in Samtse – Dorokha, Norbugang, and Tendruk central school, the ministry has proposed a budget of Nu 258 million to the government for infrastructural development.

The ministry, at the same time, is also planning to open more central schools.

The ministry is also looking at solving the distance issue by providing school buses.

Concerning shortage of teachers in schools, Lyonpo said the situation could change from the academic year 2020. “We have reviewed the problem and it is a genuine issue.”

However, Lyonpo said that the ministry was hopeful that this would not be a problem after 2020. “We are doubtful even so whether we can reach all the schools given that teachers tend to take leave or leave the job altogether.”

As of now substitute and contract teachers fill the teacher shortage in schools as a result of teachers leaving the profession and those on leave.

Dewathang Gomdar’s MP, Ugyen Dorji, asked Lyonpo about the present rule of not giving principals in primary schools with less than a hundred students.

Lyonpo said that this was the practice and the ministry initially considered appointing a vice principal in schools with less than a hundred students.

He added that after reviewing the importance, every school deserved a principal in spite of the number of students.

“The lack of a governing body in school becomes a problem and affects literacy rate,” he said.

Esori Waglay