Nim Dorji  | Trongsa

With schools closed, children in Semji village, Trongsa are busy collecting logs these days. Others in the community are helping their parents on the farms. 

It is also time for some to earn pocket money working as day labourers. 

A Class 12 student, Tashi Wangchuk, has been in the village since his school closed last month. Tashi together with his brother, who is a Class 8 student, is working for a neighbour prepare logs for shitake mushroom cultivation.

Unlike others, they will not receive any payment for this job. Instead, the neighbour would return equal hours of labour contribution for their parents in the future. 

Tashi Wangchuk said that although this year was vital for him as he has to sit the board exam, the teachers have created Google classroom and on another online forum to teach and give assignments.

“I learn online on mobile phone in the morning and evening, but during the day I am engaged in other farm work,” he said. 

Learning lessons through the tele-education is a unique experience that made them reluctant learners, students said. 

Most of them have been attending lessons through the government e-learning through online and television to enable students to learn their experiences since the schools closed last month.

Unlike other students in urban areas, those residing in villages of Trongsa attend online lessons and join their parents on the farms. 

The parents being uneducated find themselves hapless to help their children learn in the villages. 

A parent said that one of her children is sent to her nephew’s place to learn on television as there is no television at home.

“Our children are worried about the studies, but we lack facilities, so they are better engaged in household chores, and farm work,” another villager said. 

The people of Semji are embarking on large scale mushroom cultivation given the high income from the fungi in the market. 

“Our village is suitable for mushroom cultivation, and the agriculture officials in the dzongkhag are offering help in terms of technology and resources,” the farmer said.

“This could reduce our dependence on imported mushrooms and help us in attaining self-sufficiency.” 

Semji village is about seven kilometres from Trongsa and has 20 households.