An undokai festival was held on May 15 at Thangrong primary school, one of the remote schools in Mongar. Undokai in Japanese means exercise festival. 

To engage and benefit the young learners, the school invited JICA volunteers to assist the school in teaching Health and Physical Education (HPE) to the students.

Vice Principal Shanti Ram Pakwal said that due to lack of exposer in the field of HPE, the HPE given to the students are not optimal. The school, he said, currently facilitates HPE services with the help of manuals.

To help the teachers and children, an exchange programme aided by HPE experts was held, he said. 

Lack of training and workshop for HPE teachers in remote primary schools remains a challenge for the dzongkhag education office in Mongar.

The HPE curriculum was published recently by the Department of Youth and Sports and primary school teachers guide the students through the activity guidebook.

A teacher Sonam Dema said that teaching HPE with a guidebook without any training is a challenge while students say that they do not understand the instructions from the teacher who teaches physical education holding a guidebook.

School principal Tendi Wangdi said HPE is important for students and said that it would be helpful if the ministry recruits HPE teachers in primary schools.

The school has 253 students of which 119 are boarders. The school has nine teachers including principal and vice principal.

The undokai festivalwas also held to celebrate the 30th anniversary of JOCV programme in Bhutan. The programme is expected to promote HPE and its benefit among students to keep themselves physically active and healthy.

Farmer Sangay Dorji, 53, who attended the festival said they enjoyed the event. “Not a single student was left out and all participated in the programme,” he said. 

Tashi Phuntsho | Thangrong