PM agrees to private schools’ fee revision proposal

Yangchen C Rinzin 

Teachers of private higher secondary schools can expect an increase in their monthly salary beginning this academic session.

The Private Schools Association of Bhutan (PSAB) consisting of 21 private schools have come to a consensus to increase the salary of teachers following the revision of government scholarship fee to Nu 40,000 for day scholars and Nu 70,000 for boarders.

With only 2,700 students left for admission in private schools this time, the PSAB had proposed the fee revision to the Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering last week in a meeting between PSAB representatives, government officials including from education ministry.

The education ministry had proposed a revision of Nu 35,000 for day scholars and Nu 60,000 for boarders. Last year, the 21 private schools received 4,225 students on government scholarship paying Nu 30,000 each for day scholars and Nu 50,000 for boarders.

Lyonchhen said that he understood the schools’ need to increase the fees to cover inflation, but that he would accept their proposed fee revision on one condition.

The condition was that all private schools should increase the salary of teachers. Lyonchhen had also said that his decision would depend on how much raise they wanted to give.

However, during the meeting, PSAB and private schools representatives could not decide on the fee revision.

Lyonchhen had asked the PSAB representatives who attended the meeting to discuss it with the rest of the members and report.

PSAB general secretary Tshering Dorji said after the meeting all the members came together to discuss the fee revision and the Prime Minister’s demand.

“During the meeting, all of us agreed and decided to go ahead with the fee we proposed thereby complying with the Lyonchhen’s condition,” Tshering Dorji said. “The differential amount of Nu 5,000 from Nu 40,000 and Nu 10,000 from Nu 70,000 would go as salary hike for all teachers and staff.”

Although it is yet to be announced officially, the PSAB members were informed by the education ministry that the Prime Minister have agreed on their decision the general secretary said yesterday.

It is left to individual schools whether or not to collect an additional fee on top of the approved fee from students.

Tshering Dorji said that since only a few schools may go for an additional fee like in the previous year it is left to the individual schools.

Students completing class X will also have the opportunity to choose between private or public schools without having to follow the ranking system this academic session.

The education ministry will not place students in schools like they did last year after the result was declared.

This was decided during the PSAB’s meeting with Lyonchhen on December 27 after the PSAB appealed to Prime Minister and requested the education ministry to allow students to choose a school based on their preference and convenience.

According to the ministry, of the 12,745 students that appeared class X examination this year, the government would absorb more than 9,000 students leaving about 2,700 students for private schools.

However, should fewer than 2,700 students opt for private schools, then the education ministry would distribute the students through the ranking system as they did for the 2019 academic session.

Meanwhile, following a viral notification that was circulated among the schools and students on admission in class XI the ministry on its social media page clarified that it did not circulate any such notification and to refrain from sharing the false information.

Last Friday, many students received a message on social media asking them to register online for the school of their preference in both private and public schools to find popularity. It also said if they failed to register, the student would be denied enrolment.

Many students were confused and panicked after they could not find any link for registration on the ministry’s website.

The ministry will announce and notify the online registration soon.