Skip to main content

When they are ready

The Ministry of Education discovered 890 'underage' children admitted in schools across the country in 2019. Thus, the ministry in May 2019 issued a notification revoking the admission for these children. Majority were in urban centres. 

Desperate, parents and the affected schools requested the government to intervene. They also requested the government to consider lowering the enrolment age to five years. Currently, in Bhutan a child can legally go to school only when s(he) is six years old. 

And that policy was strictly followed a few years ago to the extent that some schools refused to admit children even if they were short of a few weeks. So, parents, mostly in urban areas, resorted to faking their children's ages. Many parents were guilty of adding years onto their children's actual ages. However, most parents, we are told, managed to correct their 'mistakes' later. Faking a child's age was rampant both in government and private schools. But the story was different in remote areas. Parents had to wait and watch until their children turned six. I have blogged about this issue way back in 2012.   

Then, the ministry decided to relax the policy a bit in that a child who is five and half could now get admission in government schools, provided those schools can accomodate them. 

And that, in my opinion, became the source of confusions. Private schools were initially unhappy, thinking that the public schools would take away children who otherwise would be in their schools. That move certainly benefitted parents in remote villages - where principals interpreted enrolment policy so religiously - but again created conditions in urban areas where suddenly parents no more had to fake their children's ages. 

Policy lost its teeth. Children as old as four found their ways in private schools. We turned our blind eyes. And this year the ministry woke up, from a deep slumber, to find 890 underage students enrolled in PP. Obviously, parents and schools would be disturbed because children were already half way into their academic year. Although the ministry was adamant, the move by the Prime Minister of Bhutan came at the right time. This year's 'underage' PP children would be able to continue, after all. 

But I am sure this is not the end of the problem. Working parents have no choice but to find ways to send their children to school. 

Maybe it's time that we lower the age of enrolment to five years. Now that our children are smarter, give them early start. In 2016, the then Children's Parliament recommended doing the same. If our children, as young as four, are able to cope up, I feel the policy needs a revisit.  

Otherwise, our children would end up watching Youtube and TV nonstop. 


Popular posts from this blog

Alive and kicking

This feels like ages since I last posted anything here. That shows how inactive I have become on my blog. It is such a pain to let it go empty, day after day. And I am sure that all bloggers share the same sentiments.

I have attempted to blog about something for a long time now, only to find myself failing to do so. Maybe that is my laziness. But sometimes, there is nothing new or interesting to blog about. Topics are crucial. As far as my idea of blogging goes, a post cannot be a mere record of personal events - everyday affairs - although there can be blogs about such topics and interests. For example, the one I am writing now - has nothing about anything in particular,  besides citing some personal excuses.

Bhutan is going through yet another interesting era in that we have just had our third parliamentary elections and the new government is in place. I take this opportunity to welcome the new government and a new set of cabinet members, the speaker of the National Assembly and th…

Utpal Academy - Bhutan's first All-girls High School

Welcome to Bhutan’s first all-girls school. Isn’t that wonderful news to all our parents? Certainly, as a parent of a one-year old daughter I am excited about the coming of a school exclusively dedicated to the needs of girls. Our girls need special treatment, which we can for sure entrust the responsibility to Utal Academy, Paro.
I really like the name – Utpal – in Buddhist world, Utpal is another name for lotus flower, which is believed to grow from mud and yet blossoms into a beautiful and majestic flower. It stands for purity and many deities are depicted holding flower Utpal, more prominently Jestusn Dolma, the Goddess Tara. Symbolically, it also stands for the transformation of our girls. What an apt name for the school!
The Principal’s message posted on the academy’s website promises providing our young women an “opportunity to participate fully in a wide range of extracurricular activities to develop skills and qualities that will lead to successful and fulfilling life.” That’s…