Rule is being reviewed but for now schools expected to implement it 

The Thimphu Thromde will not change its decision to disallow tracksuits from being worn during morning assemblies and classrooms, despite the public resentment.

Thimphu Thromde’s executive secretary, Pasang Dorji said that the schools have to follow the new rule. “For the time being, it will be a status quo,” Pasang Dorji said.

This means even primary schools will have to follow the new tracksuit rule despite some principals questioning its practicality with younger children. The secretary also said that the rule would not be reversed.

He also said that the decision was not ad hoc. “Many principals were consulted about it three-four years ago and it is not an autocratic decision,” he said.

On March 8, the thromde education conference which was held in Paro resolved to not allow students wearing tracksuits during morning assemblies and classes. The decision according to the notice was taken in keeping with government policy to promote the country’s national identity. The notification stated that students would have to wear Gho and Kira in school, and while going and returning from school.

Students will be permitted to wear tracksuits only during health and physical education (HPE) periods and annual sports days. Schools were also asked to arrange their health and physical education classes on Saturdays and tracksuits should be worn uniformly only on that day.

Following the thromde’s notification, many expressed their resentment against the rule. Though principals from higher secondary schools, both private and government lauded the decision, primary school principals were concerned with the new rule. Many felt that making children from classes preprimary to III to change at school would not be practical.

Higher secondary principals also expressed concern that lack of resources would  impede conducting of HPE classes for the entire school on the same day, if Saturday is designated for HPE.

Pasang Dorji said that the thromde will hold another round of talks with the principals to discuss and facilitate implementation of the new tracksuit rule. “We will look into problems in implementing the new rules,” he said.

For instance, the thromde will discuss on how to create changing rooms from existing structures at minimal costs. The thromde will also look into whether tracksuits are required since even shorts would suffice for HPE classes.

Thimphu Thrompon Kinley Dorji said that he would need sometime to review the tracksuit rule. “There seems to be lots of problems in the field and if this is the case we might have to reconsider the rule,” Kinley Dorji said.

Until the thromde reviews it, the new rule will remain in effect. Accordingly, the schools are making changes to their HPE classes. Zilukha Middle Secondary School principal, Dawa Tshering said that he has now segregated the HPE classes to different weekdays for different classes.

“We are conducting HPE for classes VIII-X on Saturdays and HPE for rest of the classes on weekdays after the intervals and lunch breaks,” Dawa Tshering said.

Zilnon Namgyeling Primary School principal, Kuenzang Thinley however said many parents have been left disgruntled by the new rule. “They were complaining that the change came months after the beginning of the academic year,” Kuenzang Thinley said.

Parents are also questioning if schools have changing rooms. “Doing HPE on Saturdays would be difficult since the school has 30 sections and shortage of classrooms to be able to provide changing rooms,” the principal said.

Tempa Wangdi