Yangchen C Rinzin
About 83 percent of the schools in Bhutan have adequate drinking water, 78 percent have adequate water for handwashing, 61 percent have adequate water for sanitation, and 52 percent have adequate water for bathing purpose.
This is according to the Annual Education Statistics 2019.
“Proper water facilities or even the presence of water supply in school can have a positive impact on children’s health and education attendance,” the report says.
Of the total, 67.5 percent of the water sources in schools are piped water and 17.5 percent is protected spring. Rest of the water sources include protected dug well, unprotected spring (7.0%), rainwater (0.6%), drilled water (0.3%), and stored water (7.0%).
In terms of functionality of the water supply, 54 percent to 80.3 percent of the supply ranges from 5-7 days per week in extended classrooms and higher secondary schools.
When it comes to the national standard student-tap ratio, it is 1:50 and the reports claim that all schools except for lower secondary have met the standard.
With the access to improved sanitation facilities in schools related to the hygiene education that reduce the incidence of waterborne diseases, today, most toilets in schools in the country have flush toilets (58%) while aqua-privy toilets constitute 16.6 percent.
It was found that 80.1 percent of the toilets for male students and 70.6 percent for female were functional. In some schools (22.2%) still use pit latrine toilets. However, only 1.7 percent schools do not have toilet facilities.
In public schools, high schools have the highest proportion of trained health coordinators. All private lower secondary and middle secondary schools have health coordinators.
When it comes to computer facilities in the schools, the report stated that 253 publics and 279 private schools have computers. This, the report claimed, has increased over the years, which is an increase of 48 computers in public schools compared to 2018 and an increase of 46 in private schools.
However, in terms of student-computer ratio, on an average, 23 students share one computer in public schools, while 16 students share a computer in private schools. The education ministry has targeted to achieve a student-computer ratio of 1:10 for secondary schools and 1:30 for primary schools.
While the ministry aims to enhance I-Sherig in the schools, the report found that more than 35 percent of both the public and private schools (5.3%) in the country do not have Internet connectivity.
To ensure that the supply of goods, teaching and learning materials and facilities, the movement of teachers and students are effective, the ministry has ensured that most of the schools have an access to motor roads.
Today, only 18.1 percent of public schools do not have access to motor roads according to the report. However, all private schools have access. In terms of electricity, only about 10.6 percent of public schools are still without electricity supply.
Total of 41,950 female students and 44,963 male students are today benefitting from the school feeding programme in schools under the ministry as of May 2019. Of which, 41,737 students avail three meals, 25,940 students avail two meals, and 19,236 avails one meal.
“The rapid expansion of the education system in terms of school enrolment can be attributed to the provision of free meals and boarding facilities,” the report says. “Such facilities are important to provide quality of education and is important to keep up to date.”