Yangchen C Rinzin
Academic session for Class XI students started two weeks ago but a total of 234 students are still waiting for placement in public higher secondary schools (HSS).
Of the 11,810 students who cleared Class X exams in 2019, the education ministry has placed 11,376 students in publics and private HSS across dzongkhags.
The ministry placed 2,138 students in 21 private schools as day scholars and boarders on government scholarship. The ministry has revised the government scholarship fee to Nu 40,000 for day scholars and Nu 70,000 for boarders.
The revision of Nu 70,000 for boarders is for needy students identified by the respective schools.
A total of 9,238 students were placed in 117 public schools as day scholars and boarders.
As per the ministry’s earlier instructions, the admission to private schools was opened from January 20 till Jan 29. Admission to public schools took place from February 13.
Director general of school and education department, Karma Tshering, said that from the remaining 434 students, 200 students had decided to drop out.
He said that meant a majority of them were employed in different sectors including a few who wanted to discontinue education.
“We’ll ensure that the remaining 234 students are placed by Sunday and they should be joining the respective school on Monday,” Karma Tshering said. “We’ll definitely be able to place them in public schools because we still have a capacity to absorb extra 700 students.”
He explained that these 234 students are those who did not get admission, as the school they had sought for admission has no space.
He added that it was the ministry’s responsibility to place them to ensure they can continue the education.
“As far as possible, based on the standing criteria they would be placed in the current dzongkhag they’re residing,” Karma Tshering said. “The nearest dzongkhag will be kept as second option if seats are not available.”
Karma Tshering said if a student did not want to study in the school the ministry placed him or her in, a student would have to pay their own fees to study in private schools.
He explained this was because the ministry was supposed to place only 2,138 students on government scholarship and which was fulfilled and there was no budget to take additional students.
“This is also because we still have space in public schools to absorb students. There are no alternatives to place them in the schools or stream they prefer when that particular schools do not have vacant seats including their choice of dzongkhag,” he said.
Most of the parents expressed that schools should increase the sections to accommodate more students. However, director general said that this was not possible, as sections were planned based on teachers available in schools.
He said that schools had tried to keep 36 students in each class but since the intake in public schools had increased, majority of the schools accommodated 40 students.
The Royal Civil Service Commission has approved ministry’s requirement for an additional 400 teachers to meet the gaps. The first batch on regular contract has already been recruited and placed.
The ministry is working on the next recruitment for consolidated contract teachers.
Meanwhile, many parents and students complained about complex admission process where the students have been running around for days with the fear of not getting admission.
“There was no confusion with the admission process but the students did not read instructions carefully. When we placed the students last year, everyone made noise we were taking the best students and giving poor students to private schools so, complain is inevitable,” director general said.