Bepam residents hope community school to be reopened

The school was closed after it didn’t have the required number of students in 2016

Bepam residents of Udzorong gewog in Trashigang are hoping that Udzorong’s first community primary school, closed in 2016 due to fewer students to meet the extended classrooms, will be reopened.

The community school was started with more than 70 students in 1981 and was later closed, and students were then transferred to the new central school in Udzorong.

The classrooms and corridors, which were once filled with the hustle and bustle of students, are tranquil today. The colorful walls are now covered with cobwebs.

Located below tall pine trees, the school corridors are almost covered by the pine leaves today and the broken windowpanes and doors are encrusted with cobwebs. The small playground adjacent to the school now serves as a grazing field for the cattle.

“We are not happy with the closure of the school and we are still expecting the school to be reopened anytime,” said Duba, 57. “Nothing was discussed about the closure of the school or the transfer of the students to the new central school.”

The village residents say they were not informed by officials regarding the closure of the school.

 “Officials said there were not enough students to study at the school, but students from places like Maenkhar, Gangkhar, Bepam, Gonpaa and Lenchi will make up the required number,” said a resident.

Duba, while aware that if there are not enough students to study at the school it would be expensive for the government to operate the school with limited number of students, said they are sure that if the school was reopened, students from the nearby villages would make up the required strength.

Similarly, Abi Karma said it was sad to see the school closed after having put in so much of hard work in building the school.

“We cannot let our hard work and efforts go to waste. Despite contributing labor for more than three months in relocating and extending the school, we have also contributed some amount of money,” she added.

It was learn that in 2004 residents of the village voluntarily contributed labor to help extend and relocate the community primary school in the village.

Abi Karma said the school, as being the one of the first community schools in Udzorong, has produced many successful individuals in the country today.

She said if the school was reopened, it would be easier for parents in these villages to send their children here rather than to the central school.

One of the parents, Samten Zangmo said their children are not getting the required care and attention by sending them to a central school. Parents are helpless when it comes to the health and hygiene of their children.

Another parents said, “At this tender age, I feel that children should be kept with their parents.” She added that it was painful to see the first school of Udzorong in this condition.

Meanwhile, Udzorong Gup Dorji Tshering said the school was closed after it failed to get the required number of students.

“I think it was a good initiative by the government by enrolling students in the central school since they get everything from the school and if the students continue to study in the primary school, they have to stay as a day scholar and face problems,” said the gup.

The Gup said there are no such plans to reopen the school.

“However, we never know if the school will be reopened or not since the students of nearby villages can make up the required number,” he said, adding that since the school infrastructures are still there, the gewog could allocate some budgets for maintenance works of the school.

“We can’t say whether the school will be reopened or not, but we have allocated some budgets for maintenance works in case the school reopens,” Dorji Tshering said.

Jigme Wangchen from Udzorong, T/gang