DNT af­firms that do­ing away with Class X cut off point is doable; meets with crit­i­cism

Business Bhutan - - Front Page - Dechen Dolkar

Re­spond­ing to Druk Phuen­sum Tshogpa (DPT)’s state­ment that their pledges of do­ing away with class X cut off point and in­tro­duc­ing breast feed­ing al­lowance to ru­ral women are not doable, Druk Nyam­rup Tshogpa (DNT) said th­ese pledges are un­con­ven­tional but fea­si­ble.

“So is mak­ing WiFi avail­able for free,” said DNT pres­i­dent Lo­tay Tsh­er­ing.

Ac­cord­ing to Lo­tay Tsh­er­ing, most youth who are un­em­ployed and us­ing drugs are class X drop outs who could not qual­ify for higher ed­u­ca­tion.

He said ev­ery year more than 5,000 stu­dents do not qual­ify for higher ed­u­ca­tion and most of them are from eco­nom­i­cally chal­lenged fam­ily back­grounds.

DNT wants to help stu­dents who have passed class X to con­tinue with higher ed­u­ca­tion.

“It will cost around Nu 0.5bn only. It is not a free­bie to gain votes,” said Lo­tay Tsh­er­ing.

How­ever, Gen­eral Sec­re­tary of DPT San­gay Phurba said it is against the Con­sti­tu­tion.

The Ar­ti­cle 9(16) of the Con­sti­tu­tion states that the state shall pro­vide free ed­u­ca­tion to all chil­dren of school go­ing age up to tenth stan­dard and en­sure that tech­ni­cal and pro­fes­sional ed­u­ca­tion is made gen­er­ally avail­able and that higher ed­u­ca­tion is equally ac­ces­si­ble to all on the ba­sis of merit.

He said that ev­ery year the cut­off point in­creases be­cause the in­fra­struc­ture ca­pac­ity in the gov­ern­ment schools be­comes less.

He said if it hap­pens oth­er­wise, pri­vate schools will be dis­cour­aged and they will not work hard to im­prove the qual­ity of ed­u­ca­tion. Be­cause pri­vate schools will think that they will get stu­dents if the gov­ern­ment gives schol­ar­ship and it will cost the gov­ern­ment. “Though the in­ten­tion is good, it is not doable,” he said.

Lo­tay Tsh­er­ing also said from the to­tal women giv­ing birth, around 85% who are from the ru­ral ar­eas are busy with their daily work and have too low fi­nan­cial ca­pac­ity mak­ing it dif­fi­cult for them to give ex­clu­sive breast feed­ing to their ba­bies.

He said right af­ter the chil­dren are born, DNT plans to give al­lowance to ru­ral women for six months. Ev­ery year around 12,000 ba­bies are born and it would cost around Nu 0.5bn ev­ery year.

Once again the Gen­eral Sec­re­tary of DPT, San­gay Phurba said that giv­ing al­lowance to ru­ral women will have many reper­cus­sions and there is a ques­tion of sus­tain­abil­ity. “It is purely a free­bie again. We have to look for sus­tain­abil­ity,” he said.

An ob­server said that pro­vid­ing free ed­u­ca­tion up to class Xll would not make much dif­fer­ence ex­cept that stu­dents would up­grade their qual­i­fi­ca­tion by one more grade.

How­ever, he said that this means, all train­ings and op­por­tu­ni­ties cur­rently de­signed for class X grad­u­ates will end be­ing taken by class Xll grad­u­ates. “This also means that those com­ing from dis­ad­van­taged fam­i­lies would re­main still job­less and also would re­main in class X be­cause they would not be able to af­ford ter­tiary ed­u­ca­tion.”

An­other said that al­low­ing ev­ery­one to reach class Xl with­out hav­ing to do the com­mon exam meant the qual­ity of ed­u­ca­tion would be com­pro­mised. Fur­ther, if the gov­ern­ment funds stu­dents in pri­vate schools, then pri­vate schools would have no pres­sure to main­tain the qual­ity they do now as they will get the money any­way.

Fur­ther, he said not all stu­dents who make it to class X cur­rently are from poor fam­ily back­grounds. Many of them could in fact fund them­selves. He said the gov­ern­ment in­stead of al­low­ing ev­ery­one to get into class XI with­out ap­pear­ing the board exam should find ways to fund as many dis­ad­van­taged stu­dents to con­tinue in pri­vate schools or al­low them to re­peat the course so that if they are good they can do well sec­ond time round.

Fur­ther, oth­ers were of the opin­ion that do­ing away with the present sys­tem and al­low­ing stu­dents to pass through with­out cut off marks to higher grade will have im­pli­ca­tions such as gov­ern­ment schools be­ing crowded and the gov­ern­ment would in­cur heavy bud­get con­straints while pri­vate schools would suf­fer due to lack of en­roll­ment and stu­dents would lack se­ri­ous­ness.

On al­lowance for ru­ral women, some spoke of the im­pli­ca­tions like huge fi­nan­cial bur­den on the gov­ern­ment since the cur­rent do­mes­tic rev­enue is hardly enough to meet the es­sen­tial ser­vices cost. “With ad­di­tional costs to the al­ready tight fi­nan­cial sys­tem, the gov­ern­ment may go bank­rupt and in­cur heavy debt. In­fras­truc­tural de­vel­op­ment pro­grams will suf­fer due to lack of funds. Also it will en­cour­age un­nec­es­sary pop­u­la­tion boom that will ex­ert huge so­cial, en­vi­ron­ment and eco­nomic costs,” said an ob­server.

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