Lhakpa Quendren

For the holistic development of scout members, the Zhemgang Dzongkhag Administration initiated a comprehensive overhaul of the scouting programme, which has been dormant since the onset of the pandemic.

The initial group of 200 students from 10 schools completed their scouting programme at Buli Central School on May 18 and 19, while the second batch of 200 students from another 10 schools will undergo the same programme at Gomphu Primary School on May 24 and 25.

As scouting is a whole-school approach, the camp is designed to provide inclusive activities focusing on personality development, team building, character development, self-confidence, and independence for students.

The dzongkhag education sector has prioritised the scouting camp despite not having an allocated budget. According to the education sector, the programme is a good blend of scouting and exposure since most students have never travelled beyond their school.

Zhemgang’s chief education officer, Pelden Wangmo, said that the programme was inclusive and an integral part of school education. “We are proposing a budget for this particular programme in the next financial year.”

She added that the scouting programme is a whole-school approach. “In addition to daily scouting activities at school, a scout camp was necessary to revamp at the district level.”

“The programme has a multifaceted impact, influencing various aspects of students’ development and school culture,” Pelden Wangmo said, adding that the camp is holistic and prepares students to be responsible, capable, and engaged members of society.

The programme aimed to provide a well-rounded learning experience, covering traditional Bhutanese etiquette, outdoor survival techniques like firelays and hiking, as well as modern pursuits like aerobics and mindfulness training.

Additionally, the programme included pioneering and gadget works, among other activities, designed to nurture various skills and competencies among students. It also covered sessions on first aid, gender-based violence awareness, and sexual reproductive health and rights.

Nima Zangmo Gurung, an eighth grader at Buli Central School, said that she learnet to cooperate with her peers and others. “I also learned different skills which can be used during emergencies and other times.”

“I learned time management, how to complete activities within the stipulated time, about scouting skills from a young age, and how to influence others for a good cause,” said Loday Chozang, a tenth-grade student at Buli Central School.

Recognising the importance of the scouting programme, the dzongkhag revamped it, which had been dormant since the pandemic, starting last September with a refresher training session involving 22 teachers.