Chimi Dema | Patshaling

A class VII student at Mendrelgang Central School (CS) in Tsirang missed many virtual classes and several online tests.

Following the closure of schools across the country since March because of Covid-19 pandemic, Anjuli Subba was studying in her home in remote Malbassey village in Patshaling.

Without electricity connection in her village, the 14-year-old student could not follow the e-learning lesson. She read her textbooks.

However, Malbassey was connected with electricity on October 22.

“It has not only lit my village but gave a reliable power supply to charge our phones,” Anjuli said.

Although the village has solar power, she said the energy was not sufficient and she could use her phone only when the weather was good.

“After the electrification, I managed to catch up with the e-learning programme,” she said adding that she is no more behind her friends.

Apart from learning regular lessons, Anjuli can also discuss study materials online with her friends. “I am very happy with the new electrification project. It is benefitting us immensely.”

With the electricity connection, Anjuli’s parents also bought her a new smartphone.

Another Mendrelgang CS student continuing education online from the village is Amber Bahadhur Subba.

He also said he couldn’t continue online education until the village was connected with electricity. “I couldn’t charge my phone on solar energy.”

There are about 22 students from pre-primary to class VIII in the locality.

Students are appearing for exams online these days. They said their teachers have been considerate of their situation.

The village chipoen (messenger), Gyan Kumar Subba, said besides villagers, students are benefited the most by the electrification project.

“They can attend regular classes online unlike in the past,” he said.

Meanwhile, located about three hours walk downhill from the nearest road head, Malbassey village has 11 households and 200 people.

Bhutan Power Corporation Limited took about a year to complete the electrification project.

Considering the extreme heat and other problems that locals had endured for many years, Patshaling Gup Chabi Kumar Rai said the gewog administration prioritised the electrification project in the current activity plan.

The villagers have managed with solar energy and kerosene for lighting purposes and used the traditional oven for cooking until now. The village received solar energy in 2006.