The education ministry has notified schools about the dress code since November 16

Students across the country are allowed to wear tracksuits only during health and physical education (HPE) class, a notification from the education ministry states.

The November 16 notification comes after the Pemagatshel dzongkhag tshogdu’s resolution was forwarded to the National Assembly (NA) Secretariat requesting the Assembly to deliberate on the issue and allow students to wear tracksuit only during HPE classes.

The NA Secretariat instructed the education ministry to submit a policy direction on the issue.

School planning and coordination division’s (SPCD) officiating chief programme officer, Kaka, said the ministry was asked to look into the issue since it didn’t require to be deliberated in Parliament.

Kaka said the ministry then issued the circular to all the schools in the country. The notification also states that students should not wear tracksuits near the national flag or during any other occasions including inside the campus.

“Although no study was carried out, the tracksuit system has always been in practice for years,” Kaka said. “However, the ministry had to issue this circular to remind and reinforce the rule in maintaining the dress code of the school.”

The exact number of schools where students wear tracksuits is not available but it is practised more in higher and secondary schools in urban Bhutan. 

SPCD’s Deputy chief programme officer, Tshering Penjor, said Yangchenphug Higher Secondary School in Thimphu first started the tracksuit system for HPE in 2008 after an approval from the ministry. Other schools followed.

“We’re not sure of other schools but all central schools have been provided with a budget for tracksuits, which they should wear only during HPE.”

Pemagatshel DT chairperson and Chongshing gup, Pema Dorji, said the tshogdu members earlier this year decided to put up to the Parliament because it was noticed that most students wore tracksuits even during other times in schools.

“The intention was to uphold the country’s national dress and respect for the national flag.”

Yangchen C Rinzin