Phub Dem | Paro

Remote Sombaykha and Gakiling gewogs in Haa have only four primary schools, three early childhood care and development (ECCD) centre and one extended classroom.

People of two gewogs have been waiting for a central school in Babjo, Gakiling, as per the 11th Plan.

Sombaykha’s Member of Parliament (MP) Dorji Wangmo questioned the education minister Jai Bir Rai if the central school would be constructed during the question-answer session in the National Assembly yesterday.

She said the existing schools in the gewogs are old, damaged and lacked necessary facilities. “The schools also faced shortage of human resources.”

Lyonpo Jai Bir Rai said that with only 240 students in the two gewogs and following the feasibility study by the dzongkhag administration, they decided it was not viable to have a central school in the gewogs. “The study recommended that it was not feasible to set up a central school in the gewogs when there are three central schools in upper Haa.”

He, however, said that acknowledging the challenges faced by the students of the remote area, the government was upgrading Rangtse Primary School into a large boarding primary school with similar facilities of a central school. “The government has approved Nu 44 million for the school.”

With the secondary national highway connecting the remote gewogs, Lyonpo Jai Bir Rai called for a collective approach to explore possibilities for developmental hubs such as college or other infrastructures in the area.

The dzongkhag education officer, Tempa, said that a team conducted a feasibility study of a central school in Babjo at the end of the 11th Plan.

He said that the project could incur huge costs and the budget outlay of the plan was not sufficient. “The study found out the existing schools in the gewogs could easily absorb students in the two gewogs.”

Gakiling gup Gashey said there wouldn’t be a shortage of students once the central school is constructed. “Babjo has 22 acres of flat land ideal for college or other important infrastructure.”

Sombaykha gup Thinley said that there would not be shortages of students if the schools had better facilities and quality education.

He said that many students from the two gewogs study in other dzongkhags with their relatives. “Some rent house in upper Haa so that their children could study in the schools nearby.”

Without a higher secondary school in the two southern gewogs, he said that many students dropped out of schools because not many could afford to send their children to faraway schools.

“Last year, four students from grade VII and VIII dropped out,” he said.

He said that a large boarding school in Rangtse would not benefit the students of Sombaykha as it is far from the gewog. “ It is convenient to reach students at Tshaphel School under Uesu gewog than the one in Rangtse,” he said.