The kitchen cum store construction has shown considerable progress and there is only a small amount of work on the drains and the plinth area. This was due to the cement failing to set as the work was done in the cold winter season. It is now set for a completion date of May 2009.
Oct 08: The new kitchen cum store under construction
The construction of a kitchen-cum-store will enable the provision of the World Food Programme supported meals in Sephu Community Primary School. The school will have a proper place for storing food items, and a clean place where the students’ two meals – breakfast and lunch - will be prepared. Being able to have a place to eat during the day will provide the nourishment children need to be able to concentrate in their studies and participate actively in their learning and extra-curricular activities.
Progress towards project goals
Lack of meals and proper facilities in schools are one of the problems leading to absenteeism and drop-out rates. Thus, the project will help in achieving the objectives of enhancing quality primary education, ensuring the enrollment of school-going-age children; reducing absenteeism and drop-out rates; and improving the health of school-going age children of Sephu geog in Bhutan.
About the school & local community
The school caters to 8 villages of about 105 households. There are 118 students ( 56 girls & 62 boys) studying in classes ranging from pre-primary to 6th grade. The community members expressed their gratitude for the project and stated that once completed, the kitchen-cum-store will be very helpful in providing their children with two WFP meals in a day.
Kids at the Sephu Community School
Prior to this construction the food items were stored in a bamboo shed and the meals were prepared in it too. This improper storage and preparation proved unhygienic. With the construction completed the children will have hygienically prepared meals and a proper place for storing food items.
The bamboo shed that served as the old kitchen-cum-store
Most of the children of the school are happy and proud to have a nice kitchen-cum-store and believe that their food will be tastier when prepared in it!
(Update posted 03 February 2009).
This project, will rehabilitate some of the facilities at a community primary school in the Wangdiphodrang District Bhutan. It will enhance access & quality of education for children in this remote, rural community, reduce travel times and increase the attendance rates.
Part of a larger campaign strategy
This project is part of a much larger initiative by Save the Children To enhance the access and quality of education for children of remote communities in Bhutan.
Over 3 years, 30 community primary schools will be built enabling 4,500 children to attend school and increase the primary-school completion rate to 80%.
Specific Campaign Objectives:
* To provide every child with access to quality primary education within 1 hour’s walking distance from her/his home;
* To ensure that every child between the age of 6 – 12 years are enrolled in a school;
* Bring schools closer to where children live through the construction of community schools
The establishment of Community Primary schools is undertaken as a partnership between three partners – Save the Children, the Ministry of Education and the community.
Save the Children provides the funds for construction materials such as roofing sheets, cement, window glass and furniture and other materials that are not available locally.
The community donates the land, locally available materials and free labour. The community leaders also play an active role in the upkeep and the management of the school. The Ministry of Education ensures that a fully trained and qualified teacher is placed in the school once the school is established.
The Ministry of Education also supports the salary of the teacher/s, provides the school budget (maintenance and operating costs), teaching aids and textbooks and integrates the community primary schools into the formal primary education system.
The Ministry also ensures that the community primary school is upgraded later to a Lower Secondary School once the children reach that grade and have no nearby higher schools to transfer to. The Ministry also provides all the technical and engineering support until the school has been successfully established.
The need for education:
Bhutan, a small kingdom located between China and India, is struggling to keep pace with its 7% annual development and entry into the modern world from being an isolated, medieval society just forty years ago. The number of students in schools has risen dramatically, from only 400 students in 1960 to more than 145,079 in 2003.
A large number of rural school-age children do not go to school at all because there are no schools in or near their villages, especially children who live in the most remote regions, the very poor, and those requiring special education due to physical or mental disabilities.
Official statistics list 53% of the total population in Bhutan as being below the age of 18 years and 57% below the age of 25. The large youth population challenges the society to address issues of substance abuse, unemployment, delinquency, HIV/AIDS and mental health.