Three parties pledge to review central school policy
While PDP pledges to establish a central school in every gewog
While the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) pledges to establish a central school in every gewog should they form the government after the 2018 elections, the other three political parties have pledged to review the central school policy for improvement.
According to the party manifesto of Bhutan Kuen-Nyam Party (BKP), they will review the central school policy to make it sustainable and affordable, more relevant for the children of poor parents, and also prescribe a minimum age for children to be admitted to central schools and retain existing community primary schools and Extended Class Rooms in the communities where feasible.
A BKP spokesperson said the central school policy needs to be changed as accommodation for students needs to be reduced due to a large number of students and prescribe a minimum age for children to be admitted to central schools.
According to the Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) manifesto, they will review central schools project to improve facilities, ensure adequate infrastructure and human resources. DNT maintained that it will also review the project to improve facilities and turn every failing policies of central school into success by consulting relevant stakeholders and strengthening resources.
“Central schools will receive facilities; there are others in non-central schools by providing similar facilities to other students based on needs and pledge to reopen community and primary schools that are strategically located to benefit people,” states the party manifesto.
A DNT spokesperson said the review will include finding the location of central, community and
primary schools, number of students, the distance among others and draw a plan for sustained consolidation as opposed to the rush to close all schools at one go.
Similarly, according to Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) manifesto, they will review and improve central school policy to make education more equitable and sustainable and establish Extended Classrooms and Early Child Care and Development Centres in every Chiwog as deemed necessary.
A DPT spokesperson said they need to change policies of central schools like maintaining schools in rural communities up to class VI and central school to have class above class VII till class XII, which will reduce teachers’ workload and will make space in hostels for students to live.
He also added that the pledge also induces reopening of ECCD and primary schools with facilities of central schools.
Meanwhile, the central school system began with 24 pilot central schools in 2015. Twenty-seven new ones were declared in 2016, taking the number to 51 and currently there are 63 central schools in the country.
All students in central schools receive stationery, school uniform, school shoes, socks and sports gears. Boarder students are also provided mattresses, blankets, bed sheets, bedcovers, pillow, pillow cases and towel. They are served all three meals, while day scholars are provided only mid-day meal.
The Indian government supported the establishment of 37 central schools with Nu 3.4bn through its project tied assistance programme and 12 more central schools through a small development grant of Nu 536.4mn.