Schools can be difficult places in the highlands, especially in colder months.

In Merak Primary School (MPS) in Trashigang, however, installation of heaters and panelling has made classrooms snug home of activities for children.

Bhutan Foundation and Bhutan Ecological Society (BES) did the installation of heaters and classroom panelling. With funding support from the Karuna Foundation, the one-year project towards mitigating climate challenges through energy innovations began in August last year.

MPS’s principal, Zung Dorji, said that the project provided 24 panel heaters for classrooms, multipurpose hall, and the ECCD centre. He added that besides maintenance work including roofing and double flooring, additional roofing along the dining hall for students to have proper meals was also constructed.

“Children coming for morning study are now benefited greatly. It is a day school but the students come to study. The weather here is really cold. Starting October until April the weather is really harsh,” said Zung Dorji.

High capacity water dispensers were also supplied to the school.

Before the project, due to lack of proper panelling, roofing and flooring, learning condition was not favourable for the students of MPS and ECCD.

“Due to lack of panelling around the classrooms, the children were felt cold and were suffering,” Zung Dorji said.

There are 180 students at MPS and over 25 children at the ECCD centre. There are eight teachers, including the principal at the school today.

BES’s executive director, Nawang Norbu, said that BES was interested in promoting energy efficiency in the building sector. “We thought of starting with the schools particularly in higher altitude so that when the children grow up, they know we can better insulate our homes. What we want to do is make schools a centre where people can come and appreciate these things.”

BES with Bhutan Foundation will implement similar project in Lunana Primary School in the future.

Although the project had proposed activities for all six schools in the alpine regions, the project could be implemented only in MPS due lack of fund.

Phurpa Lhamo