The 42 years old school has not seen maintenance works even once
DT: Border students of Punakha Higher Secondary School are using tins and buckets to protect their beds and room from rainwater that leaks through the roof during monsoon.
Explaining the condition of the school’s hostels, Guma gewog’s mangmi Bago Dorji said at the dzongkhag tshogdu yesterday that the school falls within the gewog but the gewog has no funds for maintenance.  “The gewog requests financial support for the school to do the necessary repairing works,” he said.
Vice principal Nidup said that roofs of the hostels and kitchen, and toilet doors are in dire need of maintenance. “Ever since the school was constructed 42 years ago in 1973, the structures have not been repaired even once,” he said.
He said boarding students especially those staying in higher floors of the building are affected the most. “Whenever the roofs leak, students approach us and we try to patch the holes with cement but it doesn’t last long,” he said.
The school submits a budget requisition to the dzongkhag administration annually he said and last year they requested for Nu 5M. But to date, the school has not received any funds for maintenance.
During the education secretary’s recent visit, the school was informed that about Nu 3.2M was kept with the dzongkhag administration for the school’s maintenance. Sources said they later found from the dzongkhag administration that no such budget was allotted for the school’s maintenance.
Of the 769 students in the school, 414 are borderers.
Chief district education officer, Lemo said the school’s budget has to be proposed first to the gewog and then to the dzongkhag administrations. She however, agreed on the need for maintenance of the hostels.
For the 2015-2016 fiscal year she said they received only Nu 5M, which was also 30 percent more than the budget ceiling. It was spent on Dashidhing school construction, Punakha high school’s matron quarters and the teachers’ cottage at Dashidhing School.
She said the sector has been receiving similar maintenance requests from several schools across the districts, but are short of funds.
The dzongkhag tshogdu suggested the district education officers to meet with the school authority and compile a report. It was also decided that the school budget requirement report would be proposed to the education ministry and the GNHC for supplementary budget.
By Dawa Gyelmo, Punakha