Yangchen C Rinzin

Students of Classes IX to XII in Phuentsholing thromde could likely be relocated by August to ensure their studies are not hampered, according to the Sherig Lyonpo Jai Bir Rai. Students of Classes PP toVIII will continue their education online.

The education ministry will relocate about 970 students and teachers to other dzongkhags.

Lyonpo Jai Bir Rai said that the ministry, for now, has worked out plans to relocate students and teachers to Kelki School and Yonphula Centenary College in Trashigang. Lyonpo added that the ministry is exploring ways to adjust students at Yonphula Centenary College and a private school that has remained empty.

“We’re also negotiating with one private institute proprietor in Punakha,” Lyonpo said.

The four public and two private schools in Phuentsholing have remained closed since the government declared a lockdown on April 17 in Phuentsholing. Students are continuing lessons online.

Lyonpo said that notwithstanding the situation, it has become imperative to relocate these students after the summer break, surrounding the uncertainties of Covid-19 pandemic.

“We cannot assume that the situation will improve and take the risk,” Lyonpo added. “Students have already missed out on their The relocation is expected to cost almost Nu 30 million (M) for food and transportation. Students would be made to bring their bedding.

The ministry had also approved the thromde’s proposal where students of Phuentsholing will not have the midterm examination for Classes IV-XII but will be rated based on the continuous formative assessment through the ongoing online classes.

Although Kuensel could not avail the data, it was learnt that some of the parents had already enrolled their children in other schools in other dzongkhags after the lockdown.

Earlier this year, students were supposed to be relocated, but the ministry had cancelled following several requests from parents who were unhappy about the relocation.

Kuensel learnt that there are about 1,090 seats available in different boarding schools in various dzongkhags for Classes VII-XII. Before the relocation of students, Lyonpo said that parents could choose where to send their children among these schools.

The ministry would also share available seats with parents so that parents could choose the available school.

The ministry would facilitate transportation. “Parents can also send their children to study with relatives if a seat is available in that particular school as a day student” Lyonpo said.

Lyonpo Jai Bir Rai shared that if some parents of Classes PP-VIII students do not want to relocate or change school, students could continue learning online.

The ministry is planning to start the Learning Management System, virtually, by August. The LMS is expected to cost about Nu 6.5M. It is funded by the Government of India.

Although Phuentsholing thromde had proposed to teach Classes VII-VIII (600 students) in containment mode, Sherig Lyonpo said it was impossible because some teachers teach both class X and XII or other classes.

“It’s also not feasible given that the present schools were not designed as boarding schools. It’ll be a hassle and hamper teaching and learning,” Lyonpo added.