The school will relocate to Kurichu LSS which will be upgraded as a middle secondary school

Beginning next year, Gyalpoizhing Central School (GCS) will close and the campus handed over to the Gyalpoizhing College of Information Technology.

The school was established in 1997 with boarding facilities. The middle secondary school was later upgraded to a higher secondary school in 2016 and then into a central school.

GCS benefits the people of Saling, Gongdue, Silambi, Kengkhar, Jurmey, Tsamang, Tsakaling, Chali and Drepong gewogs.

However, the Ministry of Education has decided to allot the school campus and infrastructure to the college. In 2017, the school did not admit class XI students and this year, no class XII students were enrolled.

When GCS vacates the school campus and relocates to Kurichu Lower SS, it will be middle secondary school. Today, construction for a 12-unit classroom, academy block and science laboratory are underway at Kurichu.

This means no central school facilities and boarding facilities will be provided. School going children from nine gewogs will now have to enroll in other central or boarding schools.

A farmer from Thridangbi, Rinzin Dorji, 55, said the people are not against the college but they are not happy to see central school closing. “There is a need to maintain the central school as it is,” he said.

Relocating the central school impacts farmers the most, he said. “Farmers are the main losers in the end,” he said.

Another farmer from Tsamang gewog, Deki said that after completing Tsamang primary school, students were admitted at GCS. However, GCS administration did not enroll the students in class seven and asked them to go to Kedheykhar Central School (KCS).

A resident of Gyalpoizhing town said that until today, GCS has benefited the community. “It would be good if the government decides to maintain GCS,” said she. Relocating the school will cost a lot to the people of town, Lingmethang thromdey and near by villages.

Yeshi Wangmo, 32, from Lingmethang throm said the cost of sending packed lunches, uniform, and daily travel will be high.

GCS Principal Neten Lhamo said they have to relocate as per the agreement drawn between education ministry and Royal University of Bhutan.

Meanwhile, college president Lhato Jamba said the college would await the government’s decision. “As per the agreement, if GCS shifts, we have plan and programme.”

In an earlier interview, Mongar dzongkhag’s chief education officer, Wangchuk, said the central school would be handed over to the college by the end of next year as per the agreement.

The Mongar dzongkhag tshogdu in 2016 also deliberated on maintaining the GCS, after residents raised concerns on its closure.

Today, GCS has over 940 students of which 485 are boarding students. It has more than 50 teaching and 28 non-teaching staff.

Tashi Phuntsho | Gyalpoizhing