29 March 2010
After 18 out of 105 applicants for pre-primary admission in Trashigang Middle Secondary School got rejected this year, parents are questioning enrollment procedures and criteria.
Parents complain that some students below the age of six got admitted after manipulating their birth certificates.
A shopkeeper, whose son did not get admission because he was below six years, said some children who were of the same age as his son got admitted. “We have seen these children born and know their age,” said the shopkeeper.
“It is unfair to see your child get rejected while other children his age are enrolled,” he added.
Some of the parents suggested that the school admission committee should check census records to tackle the health card manipulation.
Vice Principal Karma Dema admitted that there were problems with health card manipulation. Had it not been for the fake health cards, the problem would not have cropped up, she said.
The other difficulty, she said, was that the school does not have enough teachers to handle more than two sections.
Sixteen teachers are handling 450 primary students. “We wanted to make three sections for PP but could not due to shortage of teachers,” said Karma Dema.
Trashigang General Hospital (TGH) denied the allegations of health card manupulation. Dzongkhag Health Officer Tshewang Rinzin said the dzongkhag had sternly warned health officials not to misuse the health cards.
“However, if such things happen, the school must report it to the hospital for necessary actions,” he said.
The parents also complained about the number of interviewers considering their age and abilities. According to them, there were around eight teachers on the interview panel.
“Children are not selected based on how they answer the questions. They are interviewed to see if their physical growth matches with their age,” said Karma Dema. She clarified that all teachers were not on the interview panel.
Some were there to compile data and crosscheck health cards. Henceforth, the admission committee will check census records along with the health card.
The parents are, however, saying there should be some alternatives for eligible children who could not be admitted to school this year. They said next year would be late for children.
“What if they get rejected next year also,” said a civil servant in Trashigang. “Would the enrollment committee have any solution for such cases?” he asked.
The school said the problem of enrollment might persist unless a kindergarten school is opened.
By Tempa Wangdi