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Salami schools merge for safekeeping

Education: With the school’s structures prone to disaster, the lower Salami primary school (PS) in Tsirang was merged with the upper Salami PS last week.

The lower Salami PS, which has 23 students from pre primary to class II, is now part of Salami PS, which opened in March 2012 with classes III- IV.  The lower Salami PS had eight classrooms and three teachers.

Salami PS’s principal Rigzin Thinley said the lower school’s structures were built in the 50s and prone to disasters. “We merged the school for the safety of students and to enhance the quality of education,” he said.

The principal added that, on April 14, the school authority held a meeting with the parents to explain about the school structures, which were risky to the students.

“Some parents were reluctant, while others were thankful and happy with the school’s decision,” he said.  The children from lower Salami now have to walk uphill for an hour to attend school.

Senior dzongkhag education officer (DEO), Tshering, said the relocation of Salami PS to upper Salami was planned in the 10th Plan.

“We’ve been telling the school authority to meet with the parents regarding the merger for the safety of the children, quality of education and also the maintenance cost being high,” Tshering said.

The dzongkhag education office also proposed for the maintenance of lower Salami school’s structures, but the estimates alone cost Nu 2.9 million, he said.

He added that, for the 23 students, the school should have only one teacher, but since the school had classes from PP to two, they had kept three teachers. “With this practice, we’d struggle with teacher shortage in both the schools, which in turn would hamper the quality of education,” he said.

However, the structures would not be left idle. “We want to propose maintenance for one or two classrooms to start an early childhood care centre,” he said.

By Yeshey Dema, Tsirang

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