Kidheykhar Central School in Mongar is known to have one of the strongest basketball teams in the dzongkhag.

During an inter-school basketball competition in Mongar this year, the senior basketball team from the school gave a tough competition to the higher schools.

Kidheykhar Central School’s bio-HPE teacher, Sonam Tobgay, said that although the school only has students until grade X, the team was registered under the senior category and played against teams with students from grade XI and XII.

The junior basketball teams reign as the champions in the junior category in the dzongkhag.

A student from the school also holds the best player title in basketball in the dzongkhag for three consecutive years.

Sonam Tobgay attributes the team’s performance to the coaching of a Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteer (JOCV) who left the school in July this year after his two-year stint at the school.

He said the volunteer was a professional in basketball but also taught health and physical education (HPE) to the students. “The students play basketball really well now. You could tell through the way they play that they have improved.”

In the past, the school also received a volunteer whose expertise was in football.

“When he was here, a student from our school was selected as a U-16 national team player,” Sonam Tobgay said.

Led by the volunteer and the HPE teacher from the school, various activities including workshops, training and sports festivals were held in the dzongkhag.

Sonam Tobgay said that HPE programmes were also held in schools that didn’t have an HPE teacher. “The sports festival was first held in the school and later expanded to other nearby schools. This could also be because the school principal is supportive of such activities.”

The school will get a new JOCV in February next year.

Bhutan has received 580 JOCVs and senior volunteers until today.

The Technical Training Institute-Khuruthang (TTI), Punakha is also one of the recipients.

The institute received a volunteer in January this year, an expert in electrical engineering and today teaches the students.

Principal Yonten Pelzang said the volunteer was able to teach students modules for which the institute didn’t have qualified instructors.

He said that to build the capacity of the instructors, the volunteer also conducted training in the past.

Head of the Electrical Department, Tashi Chejay, said the institute also put up a requisition to Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to extend the volunteer’s stay at the institute.

“Apart from some communication issues, he is doing well. He also fixes all the broken machines at the institute and is knowledgeable.”

The institute has also received various equipment from JICA through a five-year project in the past.

Phurpa Lhamo