The lion’s share of the budget was spent in paying leave travel concession

Budget: Following the allocation of limited budget this year, the 28 schools including extended classrooms in Samdrupjongkhar might have to either cancel or minimise school activities.

The issue of limited budget was raised at the principals’ conference that started yesterday.

Reporting on the dzongkhag’s education report 2015, dzongkhag education officer (DEO) Rinchen Gyeltshen said that a budget of Nu 9.4 million (M) was allocated for the schools this fiscal year.

However, he informed the principals that of the total budget, leave travel concession (LTC) for teachers and school staff alone amounted to about Nu 8.4 million. Each school, he said, paid about Nu 30,000 to Nu 700,000 as LTC.

The budget allocated is only for primary, lower, middle and higher secondary schools and doesn’t include DEO’s office and non-formal education (NFE).

“With this, we’re now left with only about Nu 1.1M, which has to cover all the activities especially travel and daily allowances (TADA),” DEO said. “But we’re afraid that this budget constraint would be a serious challenge.”

Rinchen Gyeltshen said this situation arose after the salary was revised because the budget ceiling remained the same. He said with an increase in teaching staff and a new central school coming up, the expenditure on LTC also increased.

The DEO said that only Nu 400,000 was increased this time from last year’s budget of Nu 9M.

Rinchen Gyeltshen shared with the principals that professional development program, which according to the blueprint is mandatory, might not take place this time given the budget constraints.

After adjusting the available budget for the activities, he said, the education sector is left with no budget to procure furniture and for transfer grants. “ That is why we will have to cancel all the transfers,” he said.

He said that the budget constrain could affect the quality of education and annual performance agreement (APA) activities in the dzongkhag. However, the DEO said that they have proposed for supplementary budget to meet the essential requirement.

Meanwhile, principals said that minimising school activities would impact the delivery of education in schools.

“Budget is the main factor in carrying out any program and without it there will be not enough materials to fulfill any kind of objectives,” Khoyar primary school’s principal Cheki Gyeltshen said.

Meanwhile, as a part of the 60th birth anniversary celebrations, Samdrupjongkhar dzongdag Goling Tshering launched two books, “Kadrinche Miwang Chog” and “Semjong Sherig Melong” during the conference.

Students and teachers of Samdrupjongkhar dedicated the books, containing views, message, expressions and gratitude through essays, poems and verses to His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo.

By Yangchen C Rinzin,  Samdrupjongkhar