Outcome of a joint effort

Outcome of a joint effort

Community comes to the rescue of Pangshing Middle Secondary School

Bhutan has always been a country with very high social capital and community vitality. Communities come together in times of need. Pangshing Middle Secondary School, in Tading gewog, Samtse is a classical example of the differences community assistance and its vitality can make.

The 2023 academic year saw the school ungraded but without the infrastructure required. The school has students from class PP-IX and there were problems of insufficient classrooms and other essentials. But the school authorities di not leave everything for the government. They sought assistance from dzongkhag education officials and others. And though the school has yet to solve all its problems, the school could set on and begin the academic session.

Vice Principal Kelzang Jigme said that starting the school from scratch was very difficult. However, he said that the school administration took a bold decision: “We went asking for donation at Zorig Chosum Institute and Samtse College of Education. As of now the problem is solved, though not fully, but I can say we are now in a firm condition.”

“We solved the furniture issue through resource sharing. This topic was floated in the principal’s conference, and they gave helping hands and solved 90% of the infrastructural problem.”

With the support from all those donors, he said, the school has adequate beds and tables for the students.  And assistance for this also came from the government and Dzongkhag Education officer.

While dining facilities are just sufficient for boarders, he said that there is still a shortage of cooking utensils and cooks.

“We are addressing these issues by swapping the roles of caretaker and sweeper. For now, our caretaker and sweeper are assuming the role of cooks. With the addition of two more cooks, we will be able to perform smoothly,” he shared.

The school has enough space football ground which is also used for other purposes, such as assembly grounds, gathering place, sports like badminton, and others.

However, he said, “We are not limiting ourselves to this; because of our creative minds and the support of our energetic staff, every hostel is equipped with a volleyball court, with three volleyball courts.”

Additionally, he said that their skyscraper building furnished with washroom facilities would have surely defeated its purpose without water supply.

However, with the Nu 0.5 million support from Tading Gewog for the water supply project, the school has enough water supply and electricity connection.

The Vice Principal said that they began the school almost like a tug of war. “When we were stopped by the challenges of furniture and water supply, we went through the case of the yak in the classroom.”

In between hopes and fears, in this dilemma situation, “we found a way out through hope that pushed our limits to start the 2023 academic session. We went against the challenges to start the school, though we began late,” he added.

The regular classes started on 10 March and the student could not catch up with other schools. “However, we are not lagging behind by any academic program and in fact, we are in full swing and are more ahead than others despite a lot of challenges.”

The poor situation of the school did not discourage the teachers and students about the school’s norms and expectations. “It also didn’t contribute to high absenteeism,” the vice principal said.

As of now, the vice principal said, “We have achieved 60% of the school’s looks and needs, which are sometimes questionable for some.”

“Including my principal, staff are so cooperative, and this is a momentum the school has taken a new shape,” he said, adding that their boldness took them to the position they are at today.

The result he said is not only the school’s effort but the of DEO, Samtse Dzongdag, Samtse College, and Zorig Chosum Institute schools across the dzongkhags and gewogs. “And of course, the government came to our aid, too,”

The school has 652 students, (348 boys, and 304 girls) and 42 staff. 252 students (138 boys and 114 girls) are boarders. There are two staff quarters.

Establishment of the school has benefited the students of Norbugang and Dorokha. Previously students from class VI had to go to Dorokha Higher Secondary School. 

Nidup Lhamo from Thimphu