Lungtenzampa Middle School
Posted on November 6, 2010
We have been studying the topic: "Education in Bhutan.” Aum Nim Dem, the Registrar at RTC has served as a teacher, principal, and superintendent in Bhutan’s schools. She has worked in the Ministry of Education where she was in charge of non-formal education. She gave us a lecture on Education in Bhutan. In addition to reading about the educational system, we wanted to see it in action.
Aum Nim also arranged for us to visit a local school. On Friday November 5th, we visited the Lungtenzampa Middle Secondary School. The school is in Thimphu, across the river from the downtown area. We were met in the parking lot by student “masters” in the 9th grade. They served as our hosts. They told us that although there are 10th grade students in the school, they are busy studying for their 10th grade exam. Our hosts escorted us to meet the principal, Kinley Pem, in the teachers lounge where they served us tea and cookies. We noted that the walls were covered with inspiration saying such as “A teacher never knows where her influence ends”
Aum Kinley explained that her school had over 1000 students in grades 7-10. There are about 30 students in each class. In Bhutan, graduating to another level depends on how well one does in the final exam. Education to grade 10 is mandatory but not all students are able to go on after the 10th grade. To go to high school (grades 11 and 12) one has to successfully complete the 10th grade exam. We learned that on the exam the students are asked questions in 13 areas—including Biology, Chemistry, Geography, Social Science, English and Dzongka. No wonder they were studying so hard.
We were invited to sit in on two classes. The students asked us interesting questions about schooling in America and we asked them about their favorite courses, activities etc. One student, who said his favorite activity is music, performed a song for us.
In Bhutan students go to school six days a week, including Saturdays. They stay in the same classroom all day long with a 20 minute break for tea in the morning and a 40 minute break for lunch. It is quite intensive. Aum Kinley decided to put all social activities and clubs on Saturdays and all the classes on Monday to Friday so that the students can have a break and work outside on Saturdays.
Aum Kinley took us on a tour of the campus. Each class had an area where they planted flowers and vegetables. This allowed the students to be outside and to appreciate the environment—one of the goals of GNH. We saw inspirational signs in the gardens and on the buildings.
While we were there Devon met two of his swimming students from YDF. Devon had already visited the school when his student Alan asked him to attend a play there. Alan was very proud to have his friend Devon as an official visitor to the school. Alan had his picture taken with Devon and Raffi.
We were very impressed with the students and with their teachers.
The Bhutan Team
Atsu, Devon, Elana, Emilia, Lina, Raffi, Sarah, Yuri, Bianca and Sue