Central School: About 300 students are expected to join Gomdar Central School in Samdrupjongkhar next year. But the school is already worried about accommodation. It will need more hostels and classrooms.

The groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of additional structures was held in March, but construction of hostels and classrooms has not even started. And time has already run out.

During the groundbreaking ceremony, Education Minister Mingbo Dukpa said that about Nu 102.8 million has been allocated to build laboratories, staff quarters, 12 classrooms, 180-bedded hostels, a football ground and an approachable road.

Principal Kuenga Tenzin said that although the school has decided to use staff rooms as classrooms next year, hostel is a major concern.

“If we’re to take in 300 boarders next year, we will need hostels,” said Kuenga Tenzin, who is worried that number could go higher because parents have shown interest to bring their children to the school. “If the hostels are not ready by the next academic session, we might have to limit admission.”

The school will get students from extended classrooms and five feeder schools, including economically disadvantaged students from Gomdar and Wangphu.

Kuenga Tenzin said that because there is shortage of classrooms and hostels, the school had to reopen old structures that were left out of use. The school had to also limit the admission.

The school has 16 classrooms, one 50-bedded hostel each for girls and boys. The school has accommodated 400 boarding students, including 60 students in a temporary hostel. Two students share a bed.

The construction of additional structures, which is expected to begin soon, will take two years to complete, said Chief Engineer Karma Sonam. Work has already been awarded to Noryang Construciton Pvt Ltd. “We could not begin the construction soon because of formalities ministry had to follow. We took about three months to invite tender, and then to evaluate and award the work.”

Karma Sonam said that if the school desperately needs hostels, priority will be given to the construction of hostels.

Gomdar is the largest gewog in Samdrupjongkhar and has a largest catchment area. Gomdar alone has more than 1,000 students.

Yangchen C Rinzin,  Samdrupjongkhar