The recently concluded Dzongkhag Tshogdu in Wangdue Phodrang decided to conduct a feasibility study to upgrade Phetakha Primary School in Athang Gewog and Khotokha Primary School in Bjena Gewog. The decision was reached after some local leaders informed the House that there is enough population to maintain the enrolment of students and adequate facilities in the two schools.
The Bjena Gewog Mangmi, Ngedup, said that the number of students in the school is increasing every year. He also added that the Khotokha Primary School has adequate space and sufficient student enrolment.
Two gewogs of Bjena and Ruebisa are expected to benefit from the move. Similarly, the Athang Gup and Daga Gup also proposed to upgrade the Phetakha Primary School.
After class six, students from Phetakha Primary School are transferred to Nobding Lower Secondary School in Dangchhu Gewog and Samtengang Higher Secondary School in Nyisho Gewog.
The gups informed the House that the presence of two hydropower plants and other sectors in the gewogs will also contribute to student enrollment.
“When children are sent outside, away from their parents, it affects them mentally, which affects their studies. This is also leading to school dropouts,” said Dawa Gyeltshen, Athang Gup.
However, according to the assistant district education officer, upgrading Phetakha Primary School might affect the enrolment rates of Gaselo Higher Secondary School and Nobding Middle Secondary School.
As for Khotokha Primary School, the education sector is concerned if there will be enough enrolment in the future.
“We have doubts whether there will be enough children to enrolment in the school once the Punatsangchhu Hydroelectric Projects are complete after a few years. So, we will carry out a thorough investigation and will submit a report to the education ministry,” said Karma Tshering, assistant district education officer.
“The gups of the four gewogs and the district education sector should carry out a thorough investigation considering the population size and how the school will benefit the communities in 10 to 15 years. Submit a detailed report in the next Dzongkhag Tshogdu session,” said Kinzang Thinley, DT chairperson.
Meanwhile, at Phetakha Primary School, students are also worried about going away from their homes after completing class six.
“We will not be able to meet our friends once we go away from this school. We will have to go to a hostel facility school where we will not be able to meet our parents,” said Kenisha Mahat, a student of Phetakha PS.
“We began our school under the proper guidance of our parents. We will not have anybody to guide us if we go to other schools. So, I am wondering whether I will be able to study that much,” echoed Lekzin Tshogyal Wangmo, a student of the same school.
According to the Phetakha Primary School administration, additional classrooms will have to be constructed if the school is upgraded. The school has enough space and other basic amenities.
Changa Dorji, Wangdue Phodrang
Edited by Sherub Dorji