Remote Yumchey and Pam residents wait for boarding facility 

Tshering Namgyal | Lhuentse

The rains have stopped to the delight of the  children of Yumchey and Pam chiwogs. Going to school early in the morning is a nightmare for the students of the remote village.

They are wishing for a boarding facility.

Besides the distance, two hours of walking, it is the  blockages on the farm road, the road they take every day to go to school and having to cross streams that is challenging students. When  it rains, the  streams on the way to school get swollen and students cannot make it to school for days.

Parents from Yumchey and Pam chiwogs said there is not a single day in a month in summer where students would not have missed classes. A parent, Sherub Dema, said students missed at least one to four days of classes a month during monsoon.

The farm road that reached Yumchey chiwog in 2015 has shortened travel distance to about half an hour by car, but lack of bridges across the two streams of Mangdibrak chhu and Changkaling chhu, have posed challenges and risk to the students.

Residents said whenever it rained, parents took turns to help children cross  the two streams to and from the school.  

“It’s difficult especially for children in lower classes to attend school when the stream swells,” Sherub Dema said.

Parents said the extended classroom facility, teaching students up to class III was beneficial, as by the time students were transferred to Ladrong into class IV they were old enough to take the risk.   “By the time they get transferred to primary school they are big enough to cross the stream and take care of themselves, but with the facility lifted it’s become necessary to escort them now,” a parent said.

The solution, parents said, is a boarding facility at Ladrong primary school or  bridges across the two streams.

Parents said it is a gamble going to school. “They could get washed away by the streams. Children walk four hours and by the time they get back home in the evening, they are exhausted. If there is a boarding facility they need not take this burden,” tshogpa, Sangay Chophel said.

He said the parents are requesting for  a low-cost hostel facility and that parents are willing to contribute if it is a burden to the government.

Jarey gup, Kinzang Minjur, said the need of a boarding facility is genuine given the high risk to the lives of students in summer.

He said a boarding facility, if available, would also help more than 12 students from Chatong chiwog who walk for about one and half hour one way and help retain about 15 students who are enrolled in Zangkhar boarding primary school in the same gewog as they are closer to Ladrong primary school.

On the bridge, he said, although the bridges would not only address the risk issue but benefit those few who own vehicles to help lift emergency patients who are often carried on back in summer as the road gets blocked.

There are about 28 students from Yumchey and Pam chiwog currently enrolled from classes PP-VI in Ladrong Primary school.

During his visit to Lhuentse in August, parents requested Prime Minister Dr. Lotay Tshering for a boarding facility. Lyonchen told the parents that a boarding facility to cater to the needs of only a handful of students from a chiwog is not feasible. However, he said the government would help parents to find the nearest boarding schools of their choice in the dzongkhag.

Yumchey and Pam villages and some areas in Jarey gewog are also deprived of proper communication network facilities, according to residents.