English | Dzongkha Saturday, September 21, 2019

Parents of PP children in Pvt. schools appeal to the PM

Tshering Dendup, Thimphu
Jun 13, 2019

Parents of Pre-primary school children enrolled in private schools appealed to the Prime Minister yesterday to exempt the repetition of class PP students that were enrolled in private schools below the age of six for just this year.

Last month, the government revoked 890 student codes of underage pre-primary children. The decision will lead to the children repeating their classes again to attain the optimal age. The parents during the meet also requested the Prime Minister to create a uniform ceiling for both government and private schools to avoid confusions regarding the age limit from next year.

Hundreds of children below the age of six are already a week away from appearing their mid-term examination. At this critical juncture, the move disappointed the parents whose children are in private schools and visited the Prime Minister for a one-time exception this year.

“When the government suddenly decides to revoke the student codes after our children are enrolled below the age of six, it is quite disheartening for us. The mid-term examination is nearing and it is absolutely of no use since our children have to repeat again. We would be very thankful if they could do away with it and that is why we came to visit the Prime Minister,” Karma Tenzin, a parent, said.

Like the parents, the private school owners were also equally worried that they might go out of business if the government keeps increasing the age limit. Many of the proprietors said that they have been registering children under the age of six for many years and are now left dumbfounded.

“It has been 27 years since we accepted the admission of children below the age of six. Children who have attained the age of six are all enrolled in government schools. Before last year the government decided to accept five and half year children if extra slots are left after enrolling the six-year-old children. That is why we thought we can accept those below the age of five and half years,” said Chimi Dema, Proprietor for Phuensum Primary School, Thimphu.

 However, the prime minister said he will have to discuss with the Education ministry regarding the matter. In the meantime, he also told the parents not to take it as assurance.

“You all should know that it’s not only me who will decide on this. With that being said, I don’t have the authority to just accept and sign what you all are appealing. I will talk to the ministry of education and see how I can support and represent you all,” Prime Minsiter Dr Lotay Tshering said.

Many parents also requested the prime minister to bring down the age limit to 5 years if possible. In response, he said that the larger community will be impacted adversely if the policy is changed that way.

“We should also look at the rural communities because when policy changes, they will also be impacted equally. Villagers will carry their children on their backs and take them to schools if we make the age limit to 5,” the Prime minister added.

Some of the parents informed the gathering that they knew about the government school’s enrolling age limit but were unaware of private school admissions. Prime minister said, a thorough study of whether the education ministry disseminated the information to private schools or not will also be conducted

“If private schools did not get the information about the age limit from the education ministry, I personally feel that the ministry is at fault. If a particular school is uninformed, these admissions should be allowed. If they do not consider your appeal, I will go to school by school to see if they are being informed or not,” said the prime minister.

The prime minister told the parents that he will soon let them know about the resolution to the problem. The parents remain hopeful and anxious.

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