Yangchen C Rinzin

The education ministry’s notification for online admission for class XI on January 8 confused many students, who appeared Bhutan Certificate of Secondary Education and Examination (BCSE) in 2019 and their parents.

More than 12,745 students appeared the BCSE.

The notification has asked students to register with the ministry online for government scholarship to apply in any of the private schools of their choice before January 15.

Students panicked and were confused with the notification as the result is not yet declared.

Many questioned how the education ministry could ask students to register when they are not even aware about their results.

Some of  them were not sure if it was compulsory to register and others wondered  whether they would get scholarships if they don’t. Few said what if they choose private school now and later obtain good marks to study in government schools.

A student studying in an eastern dzongkhag, Ugyen Lhaden, said that while she wants to take opportunity to study in a good private school, she is sceptic to register because of the fear she might be asked to pay additional fees.

“I come from a poor family and I can’t afford. It was not clear if the private schools would take an additional fee on what education ministry will pay,” she said.   

A student from Trongsa, Sonam Zam, asked if the government could send them in the same private schools they choose without even knowing the result. “What if we don’t register now to study in government school but later is asked to go to private schoo?”

An official from the education ministry clarified that the registration for admission right now is only for the students who wishes to study in private schools.

“The registration is definitely not compulsory and if they wish to study in government school then they don’t have to register. The registration is only with the education ministry and not with the private schools.”

The official said students, irrespective of the percentages they obtain, could register if they prefer to study in any of the 21 private higher secondary schools.

The registration is restricted to only for the class X students who appeared 2019 BCSE.

The google document for registration also mentions that the purpose of this online registration is to collect information of BCSE-X 2019 students who are interested to study class XI in private schools through government scholarship.

The notification claims that information will help the ministry to plan better in the allocation of government scholarship in the most efficient manner.

The notification stated that students who are awarded pass certificate would be eligible for admission in class XI in public or private schools without merit ranking.

However, a teacher in Thimphu said although the purpose of the notification is to collect information of students interested to study in private schools, there might be situations where students register assuming it is compulsory to study in private and the number would exceed 2,700. “Then how will the ministry solve this and ask the students to go back to government school.”

Officials said registration to public schools would open once the result is declared.

If the registration is lesser than 2,700 then the government would absorb students in government schools first and then allocate students to private schools based on rankings.

The number might change based on the number of failure and dropouts.

Meanwhile, admission for students, who register for a private school of their choice, will begin from January 20.

In December last year, the ministry and private schools with the Prime Minister decided to allow the students to choose between private or public schools without having to follow the ranking system in 2020 academic session.

With the condition to increase the monthly salary of the teachers, the ministry also revised the government scholarship fee to Nu 40,000 for day scholars and Nu 70,000 for boarders. The revised 70,000 for boarders will be limited to needy students identified by the respective schools.