…𝒂𝒄𝒄𝒐𝒓𝒅𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒕𝒐 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝑾𝒆𝒍𝒍𝒃𝒆𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒐𝒇 𝒈𝒓𝒂𝒅𝒆 𝑰𝑰𝑰 𝒔𝒕𝒖𝒅𝒆𝒏𝒕𝒔 𝒊𝒏 𝑵𝒂𝒕𝒊𝒐𝒏𝒂𝒍 𝑬𝒅𝒖𝒄𝒂𝒕𝒊𝒐𝒏 𝑨𝒔𝒔𝒆𝒔𝒔𝒎𝒆𝒏𝒕 2021 𝒓𝒆𝒑𝒐𝒓𝒕, 𝒃𝒐𝒕𝒉 𝒕𝒆𝒂𝒄𝒉𝒆𝒓𝒔 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒔𝒕𝒖𝒅𝒆𝒏𝒕𝒔 𝒓𝒆𝒑𝒐𝒓𝒕𝒆𝒅 𝒕𝒉𝒂𝒕 𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒚 𝒇𝒆𝒍𝒕 𝒉𝒂𝒑𝒑𝒚 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒔𝒂𝒇𝒆 𝒊𝒏 𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒊𝒓 𝒔𝒄𝒉𝒐𝒐𝒍𝒔
The recent National Education Assessment 2021-Grade III report published in 2023 by the Bhutan Council for School Examinations and Assessment, Ministry of Education and Skill Development reports that students and teachers felt safe and happy in their schools. In the Student Questionnaire, students were asked to rate the school environment on a scale of 1 to 4 where 1 represented ‘never’; 2 ‘sometimes’; 3 ‘many times’; and 4 ‘always’.
The questions regarding the school environment were mainly concerned with the use and availability of essential facilities. The parameters for rating included, having a clean campus and the availability of playgrounds, computers, libraries, and clean toilets. They rated high on teachers’ care for sick students and clean drinking water between 3 and 4.
Regarding the school environment, students agreed that their teachers took care of sick students. Students evaluated that essential facilities in their schools were available and used by giving a rating between 2.2 and 3.3 on a scale of 1 to 4. The rating for facilities which included clean drinking water (3.3), a clean campus (2.9), and a playground (2.5), computers (2.2), a library (2.2) and clean toilets (2.2). However, these ratings suggested that these are some of the point of focus for improvement.
Responses of teachers matched the student responses to the questions regarding school environment. Teachers rated highest on the statement, ‘In my school, generally students who fall sick are taken care (3.9), on a scale of 1 to 4. The rating was followed by the statements, ‘In my school, generally students keep the campus clean’ (3.8) and ‘In my school, generally students have access to clean drinking water’ (3.8), indicating that the facilities described were available to students.
Students strongly felt that they helped each other at school (95%). Close to four out of five students agreed that their teachers were friendly (82%), other students were friendly (79%), and their principals were friendly (77%). More than 70 percent of students responded that their non-teaching staffs were friendly too.
The report stated that it is encouraging to see that students reported that they felt happy and safe in their schools. On average, students rated the level of their happiness and safety in schools around 3 on a scale of 1 (never) to 4 (always). The findings also suggest this ratings can be improved which ensure overall well-being of students.
Teachers evaluated that students in their schools felt safe and happy similar to what students said in their responses to the Student Questionnaire. They agreed that they have a friendly, cooperative, and orderly school environment.
Most of the students experienced missing classes due to poor health during the last one year. Ninety seven percent of students reported that they were sick and 95 percent of students said that they missed school. These results may be consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.
On the positive side, a significant number of students reported that they received help from their schools when they were sick. More than 80 percent of students responded that their schools helped them when they were sick in the last one year.
These results suggest that it is important to continue providing support for students who fall sick through schools and improving sanitation and personal hygiene programmes in schools for students.