In the beginning, it was just a piece of land. Soon it became Zhemgang Pry School. Then Zhemgang High School. And now, autonomous cum central school. Ever since its inception in 1958, the school has unfailingly served as pinnacle of learning for khengrig namsum region and produced sublime souls from all walks of life.
It is almost 7 or 8 months passed since the dawn of school autonomy. However, many are still bewildered, and few even draw parallel between autonomous, private schools and colleges. Let alone someone outside education fraternity, even I was baffled initially.
Well, the difference is only in terms of human resourcing and finance. Now with the grant of school autonomy, the school is vested with authority to retain and remove (transfer) teachers. Retain- if duties are dispatched unconditionally. Remove- if fundamental duties are compromised. However, the intention is not to pick at flaws but to bring in the best and take schools to the forefront of learning.
At the budget level, unlike the past years, the school need not remit the unexpended funds to the ministry. The school can save the money and carry it over to next fiscal year. Moreover, the monthly remuneration, to which many draw analogy with private schools, are also disbursed by the school,
So, many are of view that autonomous schools are delinked from MoE or concerned district education office.
As meek as it sounds, regardless of private or government, no school in Bhutan operates without its parent agency except colleges which are under different agency. Thus, autonomous school is no private and it’s neither delinked from MoE nor Dzongkhag education office as the directives would always emanate from the two. It is just that the financial and human resource muscle is conferred more to schools.
Since the concept of school autonomy is remarkably recent, only 19 schools are piloted for just five years. If, after five years, the test yield good result, it would be extended to other schools too.
The next revolution that my school saw this year was the implementation of central school. Certainly, it is a boon for students and parents hailing from far flung places, for many things come to them without having to pay. But at the end, students failing to handover school properties would ensue in deduction of money.
On the contrary, day scholars are deprived of the free school uniform and sportswear. Honorable education minister during his recent visit said that since boarders are 24x7 times confined to school norms and to compensate the stringency, the facilities were made more accessible to curtail them from moving out as day scholar.
Moreover, to house burgeoning number of students, few more buildings are yet to come up in a month or two.
Now, we are already classes seven to twelve. Hence, consolidating location A and B, we are Zhemgang Central School with school population amounting nearly to 1100. Besides, other things like its strategic location and accessibility from different regions of the place were also considered.
Lyonpo, in his concluding remark, wished us luck and reiterated the words of His majesty the king- “you can’t give what you don’t have”.