Education: Three private higher secondary schools in Thimphu and one from Gelephu have proposed to introduce boarding facilities after the ministry issued an executive order revoking the Boarding Policy of 1995 this year.

The proposals come just a few months after the ministry issued an executive order revoking the 1995 boarding policy. By rescinding the old policy, the ministry approved boarding facilities in private and public schools both in rural and urban areas from the 2017 academic year. The executive order also approved private hostels in urban and rural areas.

Following the executive order, thromde education officer Sangay Drukpa said that the Early Learning Centre, Nima higher secondary and Pelkhil schools in Thimphu have proposed to introduce boarding facilities. “The thromde has forwarded the proposals to the ministry,” Sangay Drukpa said.

School planning and coordination division deputy chief programme officer Yeshey Lhendup said Kuendrup higher secondary school from Gelephu has also submitted its proposal to start boarding services next year. “We have approved proposals for three of the schools, Nima higher secondary school, Kuendrup higher secondary school and the Early Learning Centre in principle,” Yeshey Lhendup said.

The ministry is yet to make a site visit to Pelkhil School.

Yeshey Lhendup said that no major issues were found in all the three schools, which required only minor improvement. All the three schools have adequate infrastructures for conversion to hostels.

Meanwhile, the schools have been asked to rectify the structures and make necessary arrangements. For instance, most of the schools only have to put in place showers and laundry rooms.

Nima higher secondary school education advisor Dechen Dolkar said that the school has almost completed the rectification works that the ministry requires. “While the school has adequate space with plenty of rooms, the only things that has to be improved are toilets, wash rooms and showers to give suitable boarding facilities to the students,” Dechen Dolkar said.

The school is hoping to start its boarding facility in the 2017 academic session. She also said that the school is starting the boarding facility with the hope to better the quality of education since the school will be able to give proper guidance in terms of studies and discipline.

Once the rectifications are made, the final approval will be given if the ministry is satisfied with their improvement works.

The executive order however set some criteria to ensure physical, emotional, proper care and full engagement of the students in hostel. The schools should have separate boys and girls hostels with a warden and matron residing within the campus to ensure adequate care and guidance for the boarders.

The hostels in the school as well as the private ones should have an infirmary. Both private hostels and schools should abide by BAFRA regulations and guidelines for meals to ensure food safety. As prescribed in the Bhutan Dietary Guidelines for school children, the schools and private hostels should provide a balanced diet to the children.

The executive order also mandates both private hostels and schools to have scheduled timings for morning, evening and night studies, co-curricular and extra curricular activities such as reflection, giving the boarders a safe space to express emotions, feelings and issues.

The ministry has not received proposals for any private hostels yet.

Tempa Wangdi