It was central schools first. Now it is allowing boarding facilities in all schools, public and private. It has been a crazy run for the education ministry, all in the name of reforming the system.
Education minister Norbu Wangchuk argued that it has been more than 20 years since the boarding policy was framed and that the situation has now vastly changed. The point he made, though, was awkwardly wide off the mark.
Rural to urban migration could not be stopped not because the policy was lacking but because it was not given the respect due it. In the kind of centralised development that we seem to pursue, there is no way we can put a check on migration. When all the bests are brought to the capital and the bigger town centres, there will of course be movement of people from rural pockets to the places where good amenities could be had.
Allowing boarding facilities in schools so that dependents and those children living in rented apartments could have better guidance and care is not a sound approach for the ministry to take. At least, not yet. Rushing forth with ideas as they come could be inviting more problems.
The ministry has just too many issues to solve already, some of which are as new as the central school. Talking about central schools, weren’t the central schools opened for the very purpose of addressing rural to urban migration and the problem of dependents in urban centres?
By the way, how are our central schools faring today? It did not have to be that the government would provide everything free in central schools starting from toothbrushes to mattresses to stationery. And now we are having to confront the problem of resource shortage. If private and public schools could have boarding facilities if they choose to, why was there ever a need for central schools? We have quite a bit of fixing to be done. We may do well by doing it one at a time.
Allowing boarding facilities in schools has advantages for sure. But then, that would also mean that a vast number of our teachers could be overburdened unnecessarily with non-academic responsibilities. The education minister himself remarked, not so long ago, that our teachers are overburdened with too many non-academic responsibilities that come in the way of their performance.
Rather than allowing the dust to settle, we are muddying the pond. It may be wise to tarry awhile before we rush headlong with seemingly easy solutions.