Education: Villagers of Choekhorling gewog in Nganglam dungkhag are worried that the gewog might not have a single school because gewog’s only school would probably be downgraded as per the dzongkhag education office.

The villagers said that their only option is to request the elected members and dzongkhag to not downgrade the Choekhorling Primary School to extended classrooms (ECR).

Mangi Jigme Nidup said that the whole issue came up when the people were informed during one of the dzongkhag tshogdus that the school might have to downgrade based on the enrollment trends. He said that during the consultation meeting the villagers expressed that they would appreciate if the downgrade doesn’t come through.

“Although it’s verbally informed, no written letter has come as of now,” he said.

Farmer Kuenzang Rabten said that the school is necessary because it wouldn’t be easy to send children to boarder school in Nganglam.

However, the dzongkhag education officer (DEO), Pema Dorji, said that although the school will not be downgraded to ECR, it will definitely be downgraded gradually.

He said the school today has about 37 students with four teachers, including the principal, while as per the policy primary schools should at least have 100 students.

“As per the five years enrollment projection, it shows the enrollment has been decreasing over the years and chances are there could be only 30 students next year,” he said. “Even if it’s downgraded to ECR, there should be at least 10 students as per policy, which may not be possible in Choekhorling.”

The DEO said that the sector will have public consultation to explain them the reasons for downgrading, explain the education policy and advantage of good education.

“Although, we cannot tell the exact reasons, but the decrease in enrollment could be because there are no children at all in the village,” he added. “But if the enrollment increases over the years, the school will remain as it is.”

Principal Nidup Tshering said there will no new pre-primary student next year and only about three would be joining school by 2017.

Yangchen C Rinzin,  Samdrupjongkhar