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. 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Community of Bhutanese Bloggers Conceived

And finally it happened. I must say that it was by far the most attended Bloggers Meet. In the past we had bloggers agree to attend and cancel at the very last minute. But on June 24, 2015 – almost 100% of bloggers, who confirmed came. I would like to thank everyone for keeping his/her words, especially those who had to come all the way from Wangdue or Paro. Thank you! 35 Bhutanese bloggers met in Thimphu. We were honored to have the presence of senior bloggers like Aue Yeshi Dorji and Dasho Sangay Khandu. The meeting assumed more significance because of their presence. Equally, we were happy to have many young bloggers in whom we see so much enthusiasm and potential. On top of many things that transpired during the Meet, one of the most significant outcomes was the unanimous decision reached to form a formal group of bloggers, a platform aimed at encouraging and inspiring more bloggers around the country. The members decided that we will call it Community of Bhutanese Blogger

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

Academic Block 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. Dinning Hall 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! Hostel Room 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