Staff Reporter

By end of next month, the government expects to ready schools and facilities to enrol five-year-olds.

The government reduced the school admission age to five years from this academic session. 

Education Minister Jai Bir Rai said that the ministry has begun all necessary works so that the children can be admitted without any problems.

The admission to pre-primary will be done in two batches,  the first on February 13, and the second batch on March 30.

During the question-answer session at the National Assembly, Maenbi Tsaenkhar MP Choki Gyeltshen raised concerns on the preparedness and availability of facilities including teachers. He said that education officials and teachers said that the government did everything so fast without proper research and preparation.

The minister said the ministry’s study revealed that an additional of 140 classrooms are required to be constructed.

“Not just classrooms but also other facilities such as toilets. Building the infrastructure alone is not enough. We need additional teachers. We have estimated about 2,070 additional teachers to recruit,” he said.

The MP said, “The existing curriculum is meant for children above six years and if it would be suitable for the five-year-olds.” He asked if the government has any plan to update the curriculum.

Lyonpo JB Rai said that the issue was discussed with the Royal Education Council, the experts told the ministry nothing is wrong with the curriculum.

“While the permissible age for school admission was six years, there were many children admitted before that age and still had no problem,” the minister said.

“The ministry is going to prepare the National Education Policy.” The MP was also questioned on the government’s plans and strategies to improve the private schools and quality of education due to numerous reforms in education policies and programmes.