Phurpa Lhamo

The government will not provide scholarships for class XI students to study in private schools this year.

This is because the government has 10,254 seats available for Class XI students in public schools.

In the 2021 academic year, only 8,797 students passed the Bhutan Certificate of Secondary Education (BCSE) examinations, leaving more than 1,000 vacant seats in government schools.

According to a notification the education ministry issued yesterday, all students awarded a pass certificate will be absorbed in the 75 government higher secondary schools.

Education ministry’s director general, Karma Galay, said parents and students could opt to enrol the students in private schools. “But the government wouldn’t support the enrollment.”

In the last academic year, 2,251 students studied in private schools under the government scholarship scheme. In the 2020 academic year, 2,088 students were in private schools under government scholarships.

The government scholarship in private schools started in 2019 after the removal of cut-off points and until May last year, the government has spent Nu 637.52 million in supporting 13,583 students with the scholarship scheme.

With the removal of cut-off points in 2019 for Class X students, concerns over the availability of space in government schools were also raised.

An education ministry official then said that they would build additional structures to accommodate additional students.

In an earlier interview, Karma Galay said that upgradation works in a few schools had completed and were ready to welcome students.

In the 2021-academic year, only 70.25 percent of students passed their BCSE examinations and the pass percentage decreased by 26.45 percent as compared to the previous year.

In 2020, 96.57 percent of total students who appeared the exams passed.

The decrease in performance has been credited to the new assessment criteria, which require a student to acquire 40 percent in continuous assessment and theory part of the examination to pass a subject. Pandemic was also stated to be one reason for the decrease in performance.

Karma Galay said that there won’t be any implications of more failure in Class X students because the new assessment criteria was introduced for grades IV to XII.

He added that in the coming years, results could improve as filtering of the students was done with the assessment. “For those who are staying back and repeating, we think they will reflect and do better.”

Meanwhile, the ministry’s notification also stated that students must apply online from April 29 to May 2 in the dzongkhag or thromde where they appeared their class X examination and the admission would be conducted by a committee chaired by the chief dzongkhag or thromde education officer.

It also stated that students whose parents are transferred and require a change in school admission must apply to the respective education officers from April 29 to May 2. “Students opting to study Rigzhung in Taktse Rigzhung Higher Secondary School must apply online on the school’s Facebook page.”

According to the notification, the admission committee must update the students’ admission in the portal developed and maintained by the ministry. “All boarding students must report to schools on May 15 and day scholars on May 16.”