KP Sharma

The Zhemgang dzongkhag administration is awaiting the final directives from the Education and Skill Development Ministry to start the academic session at the Tama Higher Secondary School in the dzongkhag.

Formerly a private school, known as the Prince Namgyel Wangchuck Academy, the school was purchased by the government at a cost of Nu 64.977 million. It was expected to be converted into a vocational centre or a general school after the parliament approved the proposal of government to start a college in the current Plan.

The renovation works were completed by the end of last year.

In addition, the ministry spent about Nu 16 million for the maintenance of the water supply and the construction of additional toilets in the academic blocks and in the girls’ hostel. The school was also upgraded to HSS in 2021.

However, it was learnt that the school could not reopen due to an insufficient number of students within the dzongkhag.

The dzongkhag twice appealed to the education ministry for a clear directive on how to proceed with the operation of the school.

In a letter submitted to the ministry, the ministry highlighted the potential risk of damage to infrastructure, furniture, and other infrastructure due to non-utilisation and exposure to humid climatic conditions.

Due to its location in the high-moisture zone, the dzongkhag administration expressed its concern over the damage to furniture and other electrical equipment including the computers.

According to Zhemgang Dzongda Kesang Jigme, the dzongkhag is still waiting for the directives from the ministry, and that dzongkhag is fully prepared to take appropriate steps once the ministry makes the decision.

He said that he is hopeful that the decision on the future of the school could be made in the next plan.

Karma Galay, the Director General for the Department of School Education said that the ministry is still working on the issue and that the final decision is yet to be made.

He said that the dzongkhag has been instructed to distribute the stationary items and computers to the nearby schools to avoid damage due to the prolonged period of non-utilisation.

The Chief Dzongkhag Education Officer said that the dzongkhag education office did not receive any written approval from the ministry and could not distribute the items to other schools.

She stated that written approval is required to avoid audit issues in the future and also ensure transparency and accountability among the beneficiaries.

According to the officer, there are not many stationary items such as textbooks in the school as the school was unsure which stream would be instituted while reopening the school.