Bhutan # 14 A School near Thimphu

As early as 1914, the first king of Bhutan, Ugyen Wangchuck, built two schools to help prepare for the unavoidable contact with the outside world that Bhutan was inevitably going to experience.  By the 1920’s a few more schools opened offering modern education along the lines of that taught in the British India school system.  Until the late 1950’s, however, most schooling was handled by the Buddhist monasteries.  Nowadays, most children in urban centres go to school whereas those in rural areas are less likely to.  The 2008-2012 adult literacy rate stands at 52.8% (UNICEF – Bhutan – Statistics).


P1000892  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1000892 © DY of jtdytravels

The Sisina Primary School is not far from Thimphu. With this sign post that welcomes visitors and points the way, you’re not likely to get lost here!  The school is of simple construction consisting of a couple of long buildings containing classrooms side by side.  It is just one room wide, a very neat and tidy place and is in good repair.


P1000895  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1000895 © DY of jtdytravels

Inside, the children work at tables learning the usual subjects primary-aged children learn.  All subjects are taught in English with the exception of their own Dzongkha language.  The boys and girls wear school uniform – a variation of the national costume.  The teachers wear the national costume as well, as do all government employees.  There appears to be no resentment to this rule as everybody wears the apparel with pride.  Younger people are seen wearing Western dress in the larger cities but on all formal occasions they happily revert to the national costume.


P1000900  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1000900 DY of jtdytravels

These two lads are resplendent in their well cared for uniform.  The loose fitting, knee-length garment is called a gho.  It was introduced in the 17th Century by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyel to give the Bhutanese a more distinctive identity.  It is tied at the waist with a cloth belt called a kera.


P1000899  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1000899 © DY of jtdytravels

Girls wear an ankle-length dress made from woven fabric.  The rectangular piece of cloth (kira) is wrapped and folded around the body and pinned on both shoulders, often with a broach.  The dress is tied at the waist with a long belt.  The kira is usually worn with a long-sleeved blouse (wonju) underneath and a short jacket (toego) over the top.


P1000893  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1000893 © DY of jtdytravels

This young student seems happy with life;

perhaps he was enjoying the break in lessons due to our visit!


P1000903  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1000903 © DY of jtdytravels

As all lessons are taught in English;

even the youngest children are happy to chat to visitors in English.


P1000905  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1000905 © DY of jtdytravels

Many of us had taken school-room necessities with us as a donation for the school.  All kinds of pencils, crayons, paper and pens were handed over to the teachers for distribution to the children.


P1000908  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1000908 © DY of jtdytravels

Friendly smiles and appreciative waves were offered on our departure.


P1000909  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1000909 © DY of jtdytravels

These women were sitting by the side of the road near our waiting bus.  Maybe they were waiting for their sons and daughters to finish their classes?


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