Sermey Thoesam School.
Infrastructure The Academic year 2019 started on 1st March 2019 after the 2-month break during January and February. New students started to join the School with the start of the new Academic Year. A total of 247 fresh admissions were there during 2019 – taking the School strength up to 647. This is an all-time high student number at the School. Accordingly, classroom shortage, overcrowding and the additional burden of control and disciplining of students became serious issues for the teachers needing to be addressed without delay. Makeshift classes had to be held in the playground and also on the terrace so that class overcrowding could be reduced from 70 to 40 students in a class. Accordingly, the classes ended up being divided into 25 class sections.
With the support of kind donors from Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan, China & USA the work on the classroom expansion is already on since the 2nd week of November 2019. We are hopeful that the additional 9 classrooms will be completed and functional in good time for the new Academic Year that will start from March 2020. The situation will be greatly improved both for the children as well as the teachers so that both teaching and learning happen at ease without too many concerns. Another very necessary addition was the sizeable water treatment plant at the School that is helping to provide clean and safe drinking water to the children and the staff throughout the day. This will surely help to curb water-borne diseases, especially during the monsoon season. There is easy access to the same with supply lines and taps done nearby the classrooms. Thank you Ani Dechen la (Tam Tinh)!
Faculty: With a very high increase in the number of students joining the School since the beginning of the Academic Year, the number of teachers started to fall short. A total of 15 new teachers had to be recruited during 2019 – taking the total to 19 Lay teachers and 11 Monk teachers teaching the 5 subjects of Tibetan and Tibetan History, English, Maths, Science and Social Studies (50% increase compared to 2018). Of these, two teachers are on part-time and one teacher as a volunteer. (We will mention here that our monk teachers receive only a nominal token salary).
Our main concern of the low salary of our teachers needs to be urgently addressed and for which we seek urgent support from our kind donors and sponsors. We really need our teachers to continue on the job for longer periods of time instead of frequent turnovers. We have tried to give a small increment to their salaries, depending on the budgetary possibilities, but it was very nominal. They still continue to receive the lowest salary compared to the teachers of the other schools around here. Please support us so that we can give a more comparable salary to our teachers to encourage them to continue working for us for many more years to come with dedication and commitment. We value greatly their contribution to the sustenance and growth of the School.
The teachers’ and other staff salaries, textbooks & stationery and additional nutrition for the children continue as the three major costs heads of the annual budget. We need the support of our kind donors and sponsors more than ever before and request your continued support for the School go on strongly in the years to come.
The new Principal of the School joined from September 2019. Additionally, we have the Abbot of the Monastery, Headmaster and the Assistant Headmaster forming the Administrative Team of the School for managing the successful running of the School.
Extra-curricular activities The School’s teachers have successfully organized a few extra-curricular events at the School that has seen very robust participation by the students. The performances were very encouraging and we can see how young children can be encouraged to take center-stage and also in making efforts to add dimensions to their class room learning for a more inclusive personal growth.
The events included:
- English & Tibetan Debates
- English & Tibetan Essay Competitions
- English & Tibetan Spelling Contests
- General Knowledge Quiz Contest
The special events of Teachers’ Day (Birthday of the 2nd President of India) and Children’s Day (Birthday of the First Prime Minister of India) were celebrated with much fun by the children and the staff. Variety performances by the children and the staff were followed by football matches between the staff and the senior students and also between student groups. The special lunches were enjoyed by all. The next day of the Children’s Day (15th November) is celebrated as the Annual School Picnic Day – so the fun went on for two days with many more games.
In addition to the School curriculum and extra-curriculum, the novice students also follow the schedules of the Monastery whereby they are required to take part with the Monastic Community for monastic gatherings of special prayers, Geshes’ graduation ceremonies, Medicine Buddha and Maitreya Buddha’s Annual supplication prayer practices, etc. So along with their School learning, they are enabled to follow and gradually imbibe the monastic system so that they are well prepared when they do join the monastery as a full-time monk after completing class VIII at the School.
Tests and Examination In a given Academic Year, two Term Tests are held in the months of June and September. The marks obtained thus are aggregated with the promotional Annual Examination. The total marks thus obtained decide whether a child goes on to the next class or be detained in the same class for one more year. Individual class Tests are also held so that the children are worked to revise their completed lessons at good intervals for proper retentive memory of what they have learned.
A new class section of Special Class was created this year so that the children who are over-aged (as in the case of the new students who have actually attended school before joining the Sermey Thoesam School), can sit for the special examination for double promotion to i.e. to class I or II instead of spending a year or two at the Kindergarten level. This is dependent on how well they pick up Tibetan reading and writing.
We are happy to announce that the 2019 School Annual Examination reports contain PASS PERCENTAGE of 96.95
The top three performers of 2019 were:
- Ngawang Palden of class VIII with 99.4%
- Lhundup Dhonyo of class IA with 98.6%
- Choephel Sangpo of class VI with 97.6%