24 Central schools formally launched
Lyonchhen Tshering Tobgay and the Ambassador of India to Bhutan Gautam Bambawale formally launch of 24 pilot central schools across 20 Dzongkhags at Wangbama Central School, Genekha last Tuesday. Minister for Agriculture and Forests Lyonpo Yeshey Dorji and Minister for Education Lyonpo Mingbo Dukpa were also present at the event. The principal from the 24 central schools attend the ceremony.
The day began with the offering of `Zhabten’ (long life prayer) to His Majesty the Druk Gyalpo Jigme Singye Wangchuck. The Central Schools are dedicated to the 60th Birth Anniversary Celebration of the 4th Druk Gyalpo.
As education is the key to alleviating poverty and achieving development philosophy of Gross National Happiness the government approved the establishment of 24 pilot central schools in all 20 Dzongkhags to be piloted from the academic session 2015 in August 2014. The main rationale behind the central school is to bring in the quality and efficiency of the education services by rationalizing small and unsustainable schools, consolidating schools with the provision of boarding and bussing services tom make up the critical mass of students to warrant optimum utilization of resources and to optimum utilization of facilities and teaching – learning resources. The identified central schools would provide children with adequate boarding and educational facilities and other support services for all round development of the child.
The central schools will have grade either from PP to X or PP to XII with school sizes ranging from 400- 1000 students. As far as possible to facilitate special attention for the junior children, there will be separate campuses within the main campus or nearby primary school under the administrative jurisdiction of one principal.
The students will be provided with free food, stationery and boarding facilities. A monthly stipend of Nu. 1000 per students for boarders will also be paid. Additional provisions like caregivers, school sports instructors and washer man will also be provided.
The recruits of nurses in these schools are also in consultation with the Ministry of Health.
The government of India has supported the establishment of 49 schools in the country under its project tied assistance and small development grants. The President of India , Pranab Mukherjee during his visit to Bhutan in November last year committed Nu.3,487.20 million for 37 central schools under the school reform programme and inaugurated the Yelchen Central School.
The education in Bhutan has expanded considerably from only 11 schools with 400 students at the start of planned economic development in 1961 to 551 schools and 107extended class rooms providing education to 1,72,393 students. The Net Primary enrollment ration has reached 96% which indicates that almost all the children at school going age are in the schools.
A total of 14966 students have been enrolled in the 24 central schools which includes 7399 boys and 7567 girls while 9280 are boarders and 5686 are day scholars. The A total of 1254 teachers and 360 support staff are placed in the central schools around the country.
“Central schools have only one objective: improve the quality of education,” tweeted Lyonchhen Tshering Tobgay on Twitter