English | Dzongkha Wednesday, April 14, 2021

More than 300 students drop out of school amid the pandemic

Dec 9, 2020

Because of the disruption of education by the pandemic, some 317 students from classes IX-XII did not return to school after it resumed in July. Going by what the Education Minister, Jai Bir Rai shared at the National Assembly yesterday, most of them, however, did not drop out. The majority has expressed their interest to continue in the next academic session.

Member of Parliament Choki Gyeltshen from Maenbi Tsaenkhar, Lhuentse raised concerns about students dropping out of schools amid the pandemic.

“There is news of students dropping out in the middle of the academic session. So if the minister could report to the house on the status and the total number of students dropped out within two academic session 2019 and 2020; and also report on the details of schools as well as the number of students dropped out due to the delay in re-opening of schools amid this pandemic. For instance, in Thimphu Thromde alone, some 149 students did not return to school after it re-opened,” he said.

The interruption of schools caused by the coronavirus pandemic has derailed the education of at least 24 million students projected to drop out of school according to the United Nations Children’s Fund. The Education Minister said student dropping out of school is a concern.

“After the schools re-opened for classes IX-XII, some 317 students did not return to school. And I would like to inform that from this number, not all have dropped out. A lot of them gave up this academic session because of the pandemic and have expressed their interest to continue next year. When we called each of them to inquire about the reasons for dropping out, most of them communicated to continue next year. However, a few of them joined in the army, monkhood and got married. Even one student dropping out of school is a concern. Since all of the parliamentarians are present here, I would like to request all of you to give us feedback and guide us to solve this together,” Lyonpo said.

Indicators such as repetition rates and dropout rates at various levels of education give efficiency of the education system. As per 2018 Annual Education Statistics, dropout was higher in classes IV, VII, and IX. And this year, the highest dropout rate was recorded in class X at 7.4 per cent followed by class V at 4.8 per cent. The dropout and repetition rates are notably higher in boys than girls. The annual education statistics call for an in-depth study to explore and understand such a phenomenon.

Sonam Pem

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