The Sorry Saga of Bhutan's North

The Sorry Saga of Bhutan's North
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Monday, January 24, 2011

238 schools still without sufficient water

Some have taps but no water (file photo)
Perspective 23 January, 2011 - Access to clean drinking water in Bhutanese schools is improving with 290 schools out of 576 having sufficient water supply systems irrespective of the availability of taps, according to the annual education report, 2010.

Ensuring every school with sufficient drinking water was one of the longer time aims of education ministry. However, there are still 238 schools without sufficient water supply. In sufficient or lack of clean drinking water is a major cause for water borne diseases and every year, students across the country suffer from waterborne diseases, especially diarrhea and typhoid.

The report stated that 23 schools reported neutral.

The director general of department of school education, Tshewang Tandin said supplying sufficient water to schools has always been a priority of the ministry. He said every new construction is planned at a place where there are enough water supplies.

However, Tshewang Tandin said this is a challenge to the ministry since water sources are getting dried up after some years because of several climate change phenomena.

Meanwhile, of the 101 boarding schools in the country, only 36 schools reported to have sufficient water supply with tap stand and 44 schools reported to have insufficient water supply including 11 schools without tap stand.

There are 475 day schools, of which 250 schools reported to have sufficient water supply. 27 day schools across the country don’t have taps.

Tshewang Tandin said, while analyzing the water supply situation, most of the shortages were because of sources drying up. “Many remote schools have sufficient water supply even without taps because they have water sources in the forms of streams near the school,” he said.

Water shortage in schools, according to teachers is a major problem always hindering daily study routine. Chimmi Rinzin, a teacher in a rural school said quite often students spent time fetching water from nearby streams while they should be in classrooms studying.

A Paro teacher said students of schools with insufficient water supply often falls sick suffering from common health problems related to lack of hygiene and sanitation.

Education officials said to ensure sufficient water supply in schools without sufficient drinking water, the continuous maintenance of water sources are being carried out.

By Dawa Gyelmo

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