While reporting that the accused was a ‘very capable teacher,’ Lyonpo said initiatives are being taken to address psychological stressors in the sector 

Q&A: The assistant principal of Yebilaptsa Middle Secondary School, who strangled a 13-year old girl to death on October 16, was a capable teacher, the education minister, Mingbo Dukpa said.

The education minister was responding to a question Zhemgang’s National Council representative, Pema Dakpa posed during a question hour session on November 27. He brought up the issue of parent’s confidence in entrusting care of children to teachers following the Yebilaptsa incident.

The incident, Lyonpo Mingbo Dukpa said, shocked all teachers in the school. Lyonpo said the report from school revealed that Karma Sangay was capable and an achiever in every task he undertook. His endeavor and contribution to the school, lyonpo said had caused the school management to appoint him as the assistant principal.

He was a scoutmaster for 13 years, coordinator for natural disaster and focal person for early childhood care and development (ECCD). He took additional responsibilities of Greening the school, where he did a commendable job, Lyonpo said.

His portfolio in the school further extends to mess secretary, admission secretary and member of discipline committee. “He was a teacher who looks into the welfare of his students,” Lyonpo said adding this was why he had brought the deceased student from Gelephu to Yebilabtsa Middle Secondary School to study as a border student.

“I was a teacher since 1991 and I have never heard and seen such tragedy in the history of education system,” Lyonpo said. “It is disheartening.”

The situation in the school, lyonpo said is now normal. The living quarter of the assistant principal is also occupied by a couple, both teaching at the school.

Councillor Pema Dakpa also asked the minister about strategies the government considered to take to preempt such tragedy in future and on the initiatives taken to address psychological trauma and confidence of parents, teachers and students of Yebilaptsa School.

On the strategy, Lyonpo said a workshop for counselors was immediately initiated after the incident and an action of plan has been drawn.

The ten-year roadmap or the blue print encompasses a number of initiatives like school reform program, principal training and facilities up-gradation.

The reform programs, he said is not only limited to constructing new structures but also focuses on capacity building for teacher and principal, improving nutrition and hygiene, promoting gender equality and tackling youth related issues.

“These initiatives just started and the results in any education reforms are not quick yielding,” he said.

Paro’s Councillor Kaka Tshering suggested empowering the school management board, while Punakha’s Councillor Rinzin Dorji said the teacher could have been burdened because he was shouldering multiple responsibilities. This, he said could have mentally disturbed him.

Meanwhile, the assistant principal is still in custody. On interrogation, he admitted to strangulating the girl with a hand towel.

Tshering Dorji