Education: With an objective to improve the quality of education for children of army personnel, the Royal Bhutan Army (RBA), assumed control of the Chundu Central School in Haa on March 29.

Education Minister Mingbo Dukpa and Goongloen Gongma Batoo Tshering signed an MoU in the presence of the Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay in Thimphu. The press release from the prime minister’s office stated that the school is now officially handed over to the RBA.

The army will now administer and manage the school which will offer education from classes VII to XII.

During the signing of the MoU, Lyonchoen said that the concept of the central school and the armed forces running a school are not new in the country.

“This particular central school must thrive to be the best school in the country to set examples or being a role model for other center school,” Lyonchoen said.

“The MoE (education ministry) and dzongkhag should not interfere into how the school is being managed,” Lyonchoen reiterated, it is stated in the press release.

According to the prime minister’s office, Chundu Central School was handed over to the army following a meeting with the Goongloen Gongma and education minister in October last year to develop a model school run by the armed forces. A joint working group formed with representatives from the education ministry and the army has conducted the preliminary feasibility study based on findings and recommendations of which, the school was handed over.

Located around seven kilometres from Haa on the way to Damthang, the central school is planning to enroll children of army personnel from across the country. But 25 percent of the admissions will also be allocated for children from the locality and civilians.

“The school was handed over to the army with an objective to facilitate quality education for army children who miss out because of the nature of their parent’s job that demands frequent transfers,” Department of School Education director general, Karma Yeshey said.

The director general said the school was dedicated to the army because the parents often work a shift system. Hence, most are unable to guide their children affecting the latter’s performance.

“They however will draw up some criteria on admissions though,” Karma Yeshey said.

According to the press release, Goongloen said because of the nature of the army’s job, most of the armed personnel are unable to guide their children in studies. Frequent need for the children to move along with their parents after being transferred affects their learning process.

“Within one or two years, we will try our best to produce the result,” Goongloen said.

The other objective of handing over the school to the army is to develop an exemplary school since the army is a disciplined organisation.

“We are looking forward in developing the central school as model school for other schools to emulate,” Karma Yeshey said.

The school will share the same curriculum, assessments and examinations as any other schools. Nevertheless, the school may add its programmes, co-curricular activities and supporting staff as required.

“The government will support capital, infrastructure and teachers,” Karma Yeshey said.

Meanwhile, the news of army taking over Chundu Central School is welcome news for army personnel. A parent from the army who didn’t wish to be named said that the central school dedicated to the army is going to help improve their children’s education.

“With the central school, parents can afford to keep their children in one boarding school rather than taking them along as and when they are transferred,” the official said.

“Keeping the child in one school can translate to better performance rather than transferring them to different schools.”

The central school will help underprivileged children more than anyone else, the parent said.

Chundu lower secondary school was selected because of its proximity to the army base camp in Damthang.

Tempa Wangdi