The education ministry is exploring the possibility of relocating students in Phuentsholing to other dzongkhags since schools in the town have been shut for more than 50 days now.

Sherig Lyonpo Jai Bir Rai, during question hour at the National Council (NC) yesterday, said that the ministry’s initial plan to relocate them to other dzongkhags last year did not work. “Moreover,  parents had appealed against the plan.”

Chukha NC MP Sangay Dorji asked the minister if the ministry plans to relocate students to help them continue the lessons.

Sangay Dorji said that with the New Normal Curriculum (NNC) in place, it is worrying to see students continue to miss their classes.

Lyonpo said that in the current situation, the ministry is working on plans to first relocate students of Classes VII to XII. “We’ll see how the situation unfolds in about a week given that the place is seeing an increasing number of positive cases.”

Six schools, including two private schools, with around 4,300 students are conducting online classes.

The thromde has also opted for “blended learning,” which is a mix of online and contact teaching. It is one of the components of NNC.

NC Eminent Member Kesang Chuki Dorjee asked lyonpo why the ministry decided to implement the NNC despite the lack of preparedness of teachers and inadequate IT facilities.

Sherig Lyonpo said that almost 7,000 teachers were trained and some are still being trained. “Education couldn’t wait for the pandemic to end since the change was important.”

He said that NNC was well prepared but the pandemic struck before it could be implemented.

“We understand there’s a gadget disparity but given the budget constraints we can’t force the government to provide gadgets to all students immediately.”

By Yangchen C Rinzin

Edited by Tshering Palden