Securing children’s learning

How Samtengang Central School in Wangdue is securing the safety of every student

UNICEF Bhutan
Samtengang CS entrance
Samtengang CS/Wangdue
29 July 2020

Samtengang, Wangdue: A welcome banner and two handwashing points greet the students at the school’s main entrance at Samtengang Central School in Wangdue.

Located about 20 kilometers away from Wangdue’s town, Bajothang, the central school at this time of the year remains cloaked in mist. The weather has however, not dampened the spirts of the school, which welcomed its 134 students on July 1. Classes are buzzing with lessons and the energy of the students.

Schools across the country reopened for grade X and XII students on July 1. Boarding students reported early.

Vice principal Sangay Tshering said the school held a day long restorative programme to promote physical, psychological, social and emotional wellbeing of the students.

Samtengan CS-1
UNICEf/Bhutan/SPelden/2020

Classes began the following day and to ensure students maintained physical distancing, the school split each class with a strength of about 35 students into two sections. Students are advised to wear masks and follow all COVID-19 protocols. Schools are also not conducting morning assembly sessions.

“Our boarding students reported on June 29 and they are not allowed to leave the school premises now,” school principal, Ganga Ram Gurung said. The main gate is kept locked at all times.

The school’s existing 20 tap points, according to the school management, are for now enough for the students. Another 50 tap points are under construction and expected to be ready in a month’s time. With the school’s water source located 25kms away, the principal said that access to regular water supply often becomes challenging. “We are working on securing the water supply.”

Samtengan CS
UNICEF/Bhutan/SPelden/2020

With the ministry of education distributing menstrual hygiene supplies and soaps, the school is also well stocked with the supplies. Arrangements are made at the multipurpose hall for the boarding students’ morning and evening studies.

Samtengang Central School has 61 staff including teachers.  The school is calling up students who haven’t reported yet or those who informed the school about discontinuing their education. According to the school, the lone girl student, who didn’t return informed the school that she would continue her studies next year. “This year, she said, she has to look after her ill mother,” Ganga Ram Gurung said.  

The case is, however, different for boys. While some have begun working, some informed the school of their interest to join the armed force.

“In such cases, we ask the student to come to the school with their parents and inform them that, if the student doesn’t get through the interview, they can always come back to continue their studies,” the principal said.

Samtengang CS-2
UNICEf/Bhutan/SPelden/2020