Chhimi Dema

A total of 866 students of Phuentsholing reached their new school campus in Phadhuna in Punakha yesterday.

The students from Phuentsholing Higher Secondary School, Sonamgang and Phuentsholing Middle Secondary School were relocated in line with His Majesty’s concern over the impact on the education of students in Phuentsholing, according to the press release from the education ministry.

It stated that since students were learning online since April following the lockdown in Phuentsholing, the Southern Covid-19 Task Force recommended relocating students of higher classes to a non-high-risk zone. However, 11 students are still in Phuentsholing as their residence was recognised as red zones.

A student relocated from Phuentsholing said they were adjusting well to the new environment. “I will be able to focus on my studies.”

The press release stated that the people of Punakha volunteered to help in the ongoing work at the school campus to ensure that those who will inhabit the campus are warmly welcomed.

“Volunteers included numerous private individuals as well as teachers and students of other schools in Punakha, and teams from Punakha BPC office, Bhutan Telecom, Chimipang Royal Project, and Punakha Dzongkhag Administration.”

DesSups were deployed to assist in construction work to construct additional facilities for support staff in the new campus.

A resident of Phuentsholing, Sanjay Rai, who is a parent, said that he was happy with the relocation of students to Punakha.

“In Phuentsholing, there is a high risk of getting Covid-19 and schools might never open,” he said, adding that he was grateful to the government for the arrangement made for the welfare of their children.

Another parent said that although it is difficult for her child to adjust to a new place, education cannot be compromised.

“Face-to-face learning is by far better than online classes,” she said.

However, some parents expressed concerns over the academic performance of their children.

A parent, Pema, said that online learning until now might not help students perform well in the board examinations. “I don’t know if the students would be able to compete with others.”

She said postponing the board examination could provide the same level-playing field for students from other dzongkhags and those relocated to other schools.

Edited by Tashi Dema