Construction of a third in full swing

Education: The 2016 school academic session has begun in Tsirangtoe. But is unpleasant going to school at this time. It is dusty, dirty and noisy.

Construction is in full swing on one side and regular classes have started next door. Noise from the construction site, right next to the academic block could be heard inside the classroom. Piles of old wooden planks occupy every small space in front of the classrooms.  Students will have to bear the scene for at least another two years.

But it is worth the trouble and the wait. The school, Tsirangtoe lower secondary, will be upgraded to a Central School in 2018.

Principal Yeshey Jamtsho said although the environment is disturbing, classes are being carried out regularly. He said he is worried about monsoon. “We’ve young students in classes below III and their safety is our main concern,” he said. “It is going to be messy during monsoon.”

A three-storied building that will have an 18-unit integrated classroom is being built. The integrated building will have conference hall, laboratories and toilets inside. Two hostel blocks that can accommodate 120 beds, will also be constructed along with eight staff quarters.

The school is accommodating its 176 boarding students in two temporary structures. There are 454 students. At least 30 more bunk beds are required for the boys hostel. Some girls have managed by sleeping on the wooden floor.

Chief dzongkhag education officer (DEO) Sangay Chophel said at least nine units of temporary classrooms were built while the U-shaped old structure was dismantled. “ Construction of new structures began only after ensuring all interim structures were ready,” he said.

According to education ministry’s initial plan, Tsirangtoe was supposed to become the second Central School after Mendrelgang CS in Tsirang. But without adequate infrastructure, Damphu Higher Secondary School was given a go-ahead of becoming a Central School.

The chief DEO added it was impossible for Tsirangtoe to function as a Central School in the existing structures. Damphu Central School meanwhile has adequate structures to accommodate additional about 200 students in classes IX to XII. Of the 896 total students last year, the school targets to enroll at least 1,050 students this session.

Two of the existing hostels require major renovation. A budget of Nu 4.12M is estimated for renovation and construction of additional toilets.  The Central School can then accommodate about 500 students in the hostel.

“To begin with we are going ahead with existing structures,” the chief DEO said. He added that a six-unit classroom is proposed for next academic session.

Damphu Central School principal Dawa Tshering said after the school was upgraded to a Central School, there is a rush for admission. Students who were studying in other dzongkhags are seeking admission here.

He said although it was decided in the last annual education conference that day-scholars would be provided uniform, it was not finalized. Education ministry officials have asked the school to hold on for two weeks before it order school uniforms.

The school began feeding day-scholar students with the day meal since yesterday, but rations to function as a Central School has not arrived yet.

“The existing ration might last for a month. For only boarding students, about 400 of them, the stock would last three months,” he said. “I’m hopeful additional ration arrives before existing stock finishes.”

Nirmala Pokhrel, Tsirang