After overcoming an initial bout of homesickness, the little ones are adjusting nicely

Education: Despite initial skepticism among parents to enroll six-year olds into a boarding school, preprimary (PP) students are adjusting well in the recently opened Dechentsemo central school at Thinleygang, Punakha.

The school, however, had to send home two PP students after they kept crying and asked for their parents at night.

There are today 43 boarding students in classes PP to III at Dechentsemo central school, located below Thinleygang town.  The school was earlier a middle secondary school but was merged with Thinleygang primary school to become a central school and has received a fund of Nu 10.49M (million).

Some of these boarding students, according to principal Kinley, had to walk to school for two to five hours.

A class I student, Tshering Choden, 7, said she used to miss home and was afraid of being on her own at night. “Now, we like the hostel and we get good clothes and food,” she said.

Tshering and her friends have senior students, whom they call ashims (sisters), to help them get dressed, make beds and bathe.  The girls also have a caregiver, Kinley Wangmo, 22, who lives next to the girls’ hostel.

Kinley said, initially, it was difficult to make them adjust to a hostel life. The PP students had problems waking up in the morning and cried at night.  However, she said the children are now adjusting to the new environment.  Kinley wakes up the girls by 5:30am and puts them to bed by 8:30pm.

The two caregivers, a male and a female, have been recruited along with a wash-man.  All boarding students also received their new bedding and uniforms yesterday.

Principal Kinley said there are 617 students from classes PP-X, of which 446 are boarders.  The school admitted about 154 of the 290 applicants, of which only 26 are in PP.  There are 42 teachers, including two principals and three vice principals.

The school is, however, short of two classrooms and will be using the science labs until the construction of the temporary structures completes this month.

While lunch is served together on the campus, breakfast and dinner for boarders are served separately in two campuses to avoid frequent movement of students.  Students from classes PP-III are staying within the Dechentsemo school campus, while boys from classes IV-X stay in Thinleygang PS.

One of the main challenges, the principal said, was with the boy’s hostel in Thinleygang PS, as it was risky when they had to cross the road two-three times a day.  The school campus is about 20 minutes away from the hostel.

The school is working on acquiring about three acres of private land near the school to build an integrated classroom, space for sports facilities and staff quarter.

By Dawa Gyelmo,  Punakha