English | Dzongkha Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Long walk to education

Mar 26, 2012

It has been the government’s effort to reduce walking distance of students to school to one hour. Despite that, some students in the remote areas still walk more than an hour to get to the nearest school. One such school is the Womanag community school in Bumdeling Gewog under Trashi Yangtse Dzongkhag.

Our reporter, Yeshi Nidup, who recently visited the school, said that the children from Bumdir and Khawlang villages walk about two hours to school from their village and those living in Zamadung have to walk one hour and a half.

“I come to school at 6 am in the morning,” said Yangchen Dema, a Student.

Jigme Singye starts walking to the school at around 6 am and reaches the school at around 7.45 am.

The students said they cannot concentrate in class as they get tired and once they reach home, they fall asleep. “After walking for more than an hour I often fall asleep during my classes and I forget everything whatever my teacher teaches us. After the classes are over I run back home and out of tiredness I sleep without doing my homework,” shares Yangchen Dema.

“After reaching home I have to help my parents and the next day I wake up early go to the school,” said Sonam Phuntsho, another student.

The Principal of the school, Tshewang Sithar, said parents of the students requested the Dzongkhag Education Office to set up an extended classroom. The Dzongkhag could not consider the request as this would mean lesser students enrolling in the school.

“Even the parents were suggesting that they wanted to build temporary shelters for their children. I proposed to Dzongkhag but as per the government policy it is not allowed,” the Principal said.

It is not only the distance, the students have to walk through dense jungle and cross rivers, which is risky especially during the monsoon season. The principal said the long walking distance affects the performance of the students.

“As compared to other students who live nearby their performance is quite low. The reason for low performance is right after they wash their face they have to walk to school and again after school they have to walk back. So most of them get tired,” Tshewang Sithar said.

The School offers breakfast and lunch through the World Food Programme. The Womanang Community School has 69 students and six teachers including a contract teacher.

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