Education: Education minister Norbu Wangchuk has endorsed the Haa dzongkhag education office’s and Rangtse Primary School principal’s responses to Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa’s (DNT).

“I endorse the actions of the education officer and the principal,” the education minister said yesterday, adding that DNT should stop dragging civil servants into the issue while they are simply discharging their duties.

The party had on its Facebook page on October 22 posted a message that Central Schools are getting more attention than non-Central Schools.

The party had also shared a post by the Happy Club Bhutan which claimed that students at the Rangtse Primary School do not have proper mattresses, pillows and quilts, and are in desperate need of such items for the upcoming winter.

On its post, DNT wrote that while Central Schools like Rangjung and Punakha were returning items such as blankets and quilts, some non-central schools are reeling under shortage of facilities.

“Punakha and Rangjung Central Schools sent their quilts, blankets and mattress back home because the government of the day provides everything for them for free even when they do not need them,” DNT wrote on its Facebook page.

The party then wrote that while such is the case with Central Schools, students in non-central schools like Rangtse and Sektena Primary Schools in Haa are living and studying under dire conditions. “Sadly, we also hear incidents that some students in un-central schools like Rangtse and Sektena primary schools are begging for their quilts, blankets and mattress from elsewhere to fight through the cold winter as the government of the day provides nothing even when they desperately need them,” the party wrote.

On October 23, a response by the District Education Office of Haa and management of Rangtse school, was shared on the Facebook page of the education ministry, Sherig Bhutan. In it, DNT is accused of sensationalisation and of politicising the issue for political gains.

While acknowledging that the school has problems, it is pointed out that the Central Schools are the solution.

And to this post, the Rangtse Primary School principal Tashi Wangchuk responded on DNT’s Facebook page refuting the claims. Tashi Wangchuk said that neither schools nor the education office has been begging for blankets as depicted on DNT’s post.

“I would like clarify that we have never begged and intended to beg as mentioned by DNT,” Tashi Wangchuk said. The principal said that his school also has enough bedding and other required facilities under the support of RENEW and the dzongkhag education office.

On October 26, DNT issued a response in a press release. In it the party states that it would like to bring to the notice of the Royal Civil Service Commission that a couple of serving apolitical civil servants have been made to make unlawful political comments by the government breaching a number of provisions of the Constitution tainting the apolitical image of the RCSC.

It also accuses one of the cabinet ministers of politicising civil servants, which as per the party is unconstitutional.

However, Lyonpo Norbu Wangchuk said that there is nothing wrong in civil servants responding to the party’s post about their schools.  “DNT has accused the school of begging for blankets and isn’t it the right of its principal and dzongkhag education officer to explain and clarify,” the education minister said.

Lyonpo also said that he does not see anything political while civil servants are executing the plans and policies of the government.  In fact DNT should stop politicising Central Schools, the minister said.

Lyonpo also reiterated that the government is not going to change its stance on Central Schools since it is beginning to benefit thousands of students. “There are many schools like Rangtse primary school and that is why the government is expediting Central Schools so that these children could be helped,” the education minister said.

Tempa Wangdi