Phurpa Lhamo

With delay in opening the schools, mid-term and winter holidays for schools might be shortened to cover syllabus.

Schools across Bhutan will open on April 25. The government announced this on March 12.

Initially, the education ministry notified that primary and lower secondary schools would open on March 1. Middle secondary and higher secondary students were to report to their schools on March 13 and 14.

Later, through the notification on February 25, the education ministry stated that border students were to report to the schools on April 17 and day scholars on April 18 to their respective schools.

The notification from the government stated that the opening date is being deferred. “This is to ensure that the children attain full immunity after the second dose of vaccination by the first week of April.”

With the extension on the school opening date, teachers feel that covering syllabus would be a challenge.

A principal said the lessons would be affected and there were chances that the government would direct the schools to use the prioritised curriculum.

Another principal said that covering the curriculum wasn’t a concern. She added that if holidays are shortened, curriculum condensed, or extend the teaching hours in a day, the curriculum could be covered in this academic year.

“I think we should be able to manage it very well with the extracurricular activities put in also,” she added.

Further, due to the surge in Covid cases, she said that it would be safer for the students.

Education Secretary Karma Tshering said that winter and summer holidays would be shortened if the syllabus can’t be covered.

However, he added that with the national school curriculum, the approach to teaching has also changed. “There is no need to capture every topic like in the past.”

Kuensel learned that some schools have already started online classes.

While there has been no directives from the education ministry regarding online classes, Secretary Karma Tshering said that the decision was up to the school administrations.

He added that there are a few schools that don’t have access to good Internet connectivity.