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Education officials say the overall pass percentage dropped this year

Education: Eighteen-year-old Dorji Phuntsho just returned from the woods in Sakteng when his friends called him to inform him that he topped the 2016 Bhutan Higher Secondary Education Certificate (BHSEC) examination yesterday.

The student of Jigme Sherubling Central School in Khaling said he usually stayed with his parents on pastureland but regularly returned to the village for the results. “Rather than staying idly at home, I went to collect firewood to beat the winter cold,” he said.

Dorji Phuntsho said it took a while for him to believe that he had in fact topped the examination. “But when my teachers called to congratulate me, I knew it was a reality,” he said.

He said that as the eldest of five siblings, he has worked hard and he has been a school topper since class nine. “I owe this success to my teachers, parents and friends.”

Dorji Phuntsho is the topper of 8,830 students that passed the BHSEC. 10,410 students appeared for the 2016 BHSEC.

The pass-percentage is 84.82 percent, slightly lower than the 88.99 percent in 2015, officials from Bhutan Council for School Examination and Assessment (BCSEA) declared yesterday in Phuentsholing.

Officials said a student has to score more than 40 percent in English and three other main subjects to be considered successful.

Students can also include any optional subject they take in the three subjects.

BCSEA secretary, Tenzin Dorji, said that they were able to declare the results a little ahead of time this year. “The results are declared early considering the school reopening time this year,” he said.  “It would help those students who decide to pursue further studies.”

In the Commerce stream, Tshering Wangmo of Ugyen Academy topped with 87 percent.

The 18-year-old girl from Bumdeling in Trashiyangtse, who stays in Gomtu, said it was a dream come true for her. “I have always wanted to top the board exam and I did it.”

Attributing her success to her hard work, she thanked her teachers, parents and friends.

Ugyen Phuntsho, 21, of Kelki Higher Secondary School topped the Arts stream with 80.50 percent.

The son of a night guard at the Royal Society for Protection of Nature, Ugyen said he had to go to his friend’s place to check his results online. “I attribute this success to my parents and teachers,” he said. “A teacher at Kelki helped me financially to purchase guidebooks.”

Meanwhile, science students in the country have performed better compared to students from other streams. Of the total 3,137 science students, 2,871 students that comprise 91.52 percent have passed their examinations.

In the Commerce stream, 82.72 percent of the total 3,438 students made it through. In Arts, 81.23 percent of the 3,835 students that sat for the examination passed.

Jigme Sherubling Central School in Khaling has four national toppers this time. This Central School has produced two national toppers each in the Science and Arts streams.

The third national topper in Science, Tshewang Norbu is also from JSCS. The second and third national toppers in Arts, Dorji Wangchuk and Tenzin Drakpa are both JCSC students. Dorji Wangchuk shared the second position with Wangchuk Lhamo of Jakar Higher Secondary School.

Ugyen Academy has three national toppers. Along with the Commerce national topper Tshering Wangmo, Dipendra Chapagai of Ugyen Academy shared the second position with Ugyen Lhamo of Mothithang Higher Secondary School and Sonam Jamtsho of Yangchenphug Higher Secondary School.

Kezang Choden, the third national topper in Commerce is also from Ugyen Academy. The second national topper in Commerce is Ugyen Pemo from Mongar Higher Secondary School.

The overall pass-percentage result for the Language and Culture Studies Certificate Examination (LCSCE) –XII has increased to 86.42 percent for 2016 from 85.52 percent for 2015. However, the three national toppers are all from Taktse Higher Secondary School.

Sangay Wangchuk topped with 83.40 percent followed by Samten Duba with 81 percent and Tashi Lhamo with 79.20 percent.

A total of 5,248 female and 5,162 male students appeared for the examination in 2016. There were more girls who sat for the examination in 2015 as well.

With about 86.19 percent of the girls passing the BHSEC examination, girls have performed better than the boys. The pass percentage for boys was 83.44 percent.

Congratulating the schools, students, and national toppers across the country, BCSEA secretary Tenzin Dorji also conveyed the message to students who couldn’t make through that not all students can be academicians. “They have their own gifts and talents in other fields.”

The secretary also said that a school’s achievement is not confined to national toppers. “Real school achievement and commendable group effort from teachers will be known only when the overall pas-percentage and mean percentage of the schools are reflected considering the total number of students in schools,” he said.

There are 56 Higher Secondary Schools, out of which 17 are private schools. 174 students did not attend or complete the examination due to various reasons.

Meanwhile, Dorji Phuntsho said that the results mean he will get the opportunity to pursue his ambition of becoming an engineer.

Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing

Additional reporting by Sonam Wangdi, Tashi Dorji and Kinley Wangmo (Interns). 

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