Education Minister quizzed on disallowing Class X students to repeat for third time

According to the minister, the ministry has made every effort to enroll those students, who failed last year, either in government schools or in private schools on scholarship

While responding to the query from MP Kinga Penjor from the Gangzur-Minjey constituency, who asked why were Class X students not allowed to repeat for the third time, Education Minister Jai Bir Rai said the main reason for not allowing Class X students to repeat for the third time is due to lack of enough seats in schools.

During the question-answer session of the National Assembly yesterday, the minister was questioned about students, who got Pass Certificate Not Awarded (PCNA) twice in Class X, being disallowed to repeat in the next academic session.

MP Kinga Penjor said, “Not permitting the students to repeat for the third time will discourage them and eventually demotivate them to dream of a prosperous future.”

According to the Education Minister, there were formerly various conditions for repeaters but due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the ministry has taken account and allowed the students to repeat anywhere they wanted.

“Last year, there was a higher failure rate in Class X, which was the primary cause of insufficient seats in the schools,” the minister said.

“The education sector, like any other sector, has been heavily struck by Covid-19 and we have encountered a lot of inconveniences as a result of the inability to perform board exams. But anyhow with the support from everyone, we were able to conduct the exam successfully,” Lyonpo Jai Bir Rai said.

According to the minister, 12,557 Class X students and 14,942 Class XII students took the board exams last year. About 3,949 failed in Class X and 2,487 failed in Class XII.

Subsequently, this has resulted in a large number of seats in certain classes being taken and government seats being full and then opting not to allow Class X students to repeat for the third time.

The minister said there are four conditions to a student should meet to repeat – the first one is a mandatory 90% attendance, the second is that a student should have not failed in Class IX and XI, and the third one is that if the students can’t attend school due to personal inconvenience and the fourth is that the student should repeat in the same school.

“But following the consultation with the prime minister and different stakeholders, the ministry decided to let the students repeat and give them the liberty to choose schools in any place convenient for them,” Lyonpo said.

Further, the minister said that due to the lack of seats, the teacher-to-student ratio has remained at 1:34.

“We presently have 1,716 Class X repeater students in government schools, but we were unable to accommodate all of them. Thus, 2,133 students are enrolled in private schools on a government scholarship,” the Education Minister said.

Of the total failed Class XII students, 566 are enrolled in government schools and the remaining ones are attending private schools with support from the government.

According to the Lyonpo, the ministry has made every effort to enroll those students, who failed last year, either in government schools or in private schools on scholarship.

“However, if there are still some students who are without guidance and want to study, then please contact the ministry and the ministry will help them in every possible way,” the minister added.

Tshering Pelden from Thimphu