With spacious classrooms, Shemagangkha Primary School (SPS) in Chapcha, Chukha, has all the modern facilities. The school also has two 15-bed new hostels for girls and boys, with washing machine and geyser facilities.
However, the school, which can accommodate more than 200 students an academic session, has only 55 students today. There are no boarding students in the hostel, which can accommodate at least 60 students.
Teachers claim that five students have dropped out of school this year.
It was learnt that more than Nu 2.5 million was spent to construct the new school block, a multipurpose hall, a kitchen, hostels, and quarters for matron and warden.
Locals say that the school got a major facelift with boarding facilities based on plans to enroll students from Paga, Rinchenling, and Lobneykha.
With four teachers at present, including the principal, the teacher-student ratio falls under the standard category. But the number of classes a teacher takes a week increases considering the number of sections. The multi-grade system was then introduced.
In one of the classes, a teacher was busy taking an English class for 10 students. The students, of the same class, are of different grades. The class was merged into multi-grade class.
Of the 10 students in the multi-grade class, four are class five students.
The only girl student of class five, Tshering Lhazom, 12, from Gangkha in Shemagangkha, said her only female friend dropped school this year, as her parents were transferred. “I would love to have more friends.” The highest number of students is in class two with 10 students.
The school’s unused facilities have left villagers worried. Shemagangkha tshogpa Tazi said the current situation is worrying. “It is a wastage of infrastructure and government money,” he said.
Tazi said the villagers are more worried about the next academic session, pointing out that some measures must be in place so that there are enough students.
He said villagers sacrificed private land for the new infrastructure. The tshogpa said that many children from well to do families study in other urban schools while students from Paga primary school, Rinchenling primary school, and Lobneykha primary school, who were supposed to study in Shemagangkha School never turned up.
Tazi said that the people of Paga, Rinchenling, and Lobneykha are worried that the schools in their locality would be closed if children were sent to Shemagangkha. “We have raised this issue in the gewog tshogde.”
He said that education officials have said they would find students from other areas for admission in the school.
The issue was also tabled during the Chukha dzongkhag tshogdu in March, where it was decided that the education office would consult the people to bring certain measures.
The education officer in Chukha refused to comment.
Rajesh Rai | Chukha