Education Minister Shocked

Tashi Wangmo

The issue of central schools was once again raised by the opposition National Assembly Member of Parliament (MP) from Panbang, Dorji Wangdi, during question hour on May 12, 2017, saying that central schools were facing numerous issues starting from cramped hostels to inadequate dining facilities, shortage of drinking water and others. MP Dorji Wangdi also said that the central school system was introduced by the government without clear policy and plan.

The Panbang MP told the House that these days the issue on central schools appears in almost all channels of the media. He also said that news flashed on television is just a tip of the iceberg and that there are even shortages of classrooms. On accommodation, he said that some students are even sleeping on the floor.

Responding to the MP, the minister of education, Norbu Wangchuk said that he is shocked at the unfounded allegations and informed that he had personally inspected facilities in 50 central schools out of the existing 60 and that except for few minor issues, which can be easily addressed, there were no major problems. Lyonpo Norbu added that he was shocked by the accusations as it is not true. He further expressed concerns about “distorted information” on central schools.

Referring to monitoring and accountability, Lyonpo also said that dzongdas have been directed by the Prime Minister to visit central schools at Referring to monitoring and accountability, Lyonpo also said that dzongdas have been directed by the Prime Minister to visit central schools at least twice a month. The minister added that central schools were introduced to improve the quality of education and for the sustainability of the school system. Lyonpo informed that plans have already been rolled out to reduce workload of the teachers.

Meanwhile, the Panbang MP also raised issues on nutrition, especially focusing on the “three eggs a week to each student” program, which he said was failing. In response, the education minister said that principals and education officials are working hard for this. He further elaborated that the government is working on providing nutritious fortified rice in the central schools.

In a telephone interview, the education minister said that he is happy to know that concerns on central schools are being raised. However, Lyonpo said that what is presented to the parliament should be true. “That is why I referred to distorted information,” Lyonpo said. “Like I responded, I have been to 50 from the 60 central schools. I know the ground realities. I do not know in which school the issues raised by the Panbang MP are occurring,” Lyonpo said, adding that “seeing is believing.” Reiterating on the tasks of Dzongdags, Lyonpo said that the government is not complacent on any issue, including the central schools. He said this is the main reason why Dzongdags have been given the task to visit the schools. “The central schools are the answers to problems faced in the ministry of education and in tune with the country’s Vision of Education,” he said.

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