--School of WILL:
Winners, Innovators, Leaders, Learners
UA Staff with Yab Dasho Ugyen Dorji & Yum Thuji Zam
--Hon'ble Minister's Visit:
Teachers of UA with Hon'ble Education Minister
--School of Innovators:
Ugyen Academy's Family
--Mensuration Hygiene Day:
School observing Mensuration Hygiene Day
Dear Parents, Teachers, and Students,
Firstly, with immense pleasure the School Administration Team (SAT) would like to inform you that we again hit the top list in the “Top Ten Schools in the Country” for the year 2019 (at both MSS and HSS levels) and I would like to thank all of you from the core of my heart. There is no denying the fact that the competition amongst schools in the kingdom is becoming fiercer each year and as a result the achievement comes at a lot of personal sacrifices from each one of you; it would have not been possible without your hard work and dedication.
Well this well deserved achievement is certainly comforting after we’ve all experienced the massive shock of COVID-19 over the last two months. Congratulations! We must feel honoured and blessed for successfully hitting the top year after ever since the School Performance Management System (SPMS) was introduced by Ministry of Education (MoE) in 2010 - for twelve successive years.
Currently, at a time still filled with uncertainty, we are aware that we have no choice but to adapt and plan suddenly for any eventuality – prepare for the unprepared and continue to excel. Accordingly, our (SAT/HoDs) decisions will keep changing to see that we are as a school setting examples in upholding national interests and observing health protocols. We must relentlessly provide our full support to fight against COVID-19 and also see that education continues.
As has always been the case, our collaboration is superb and we are doing very well in our delivery of EiE curriculum and community vitality programs. Please keep it up and do carry on supporting teacher colleagues, parents and students who are facing challenges. The SAT/HoDs have been trying our best to live up to our EiE Pledge, “My Students, My Responsibility - MSMY” (Versions 1 to 4). We are clear that all of us are rolling into an entirely new education system and we have no choice but to stand on the new platform to deliver our lessons. We are adjusting to meet the new reality of digital teaching during a pandemic, and we do realize that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach for not just students at different key stages but also for teachers/parents. Across the country, educators are being equipped with new tech tools and UA teachers are no exception — devices, apps, software, and online textbooks — in greater volume than ever before. More recently our MoE launched Self-Instructional Materials (SIMs), an alternative educational resource through print media for students who do not have access to internet, BBS and e-learning facilities – “Reaching the Unreached” the SIMs were intended to help about 16,884 students who do not have access to e-learning platforms. UA apparently is one school where we did not have to opt for the SIM option. Nevertheless, the push to train teachers on how to effectively use that technology must be in full swing to see that education does not stop and we continue to remain atop.
Consequently, SAT and HoDs have been meeting and we wish to share some of the outcomes:
The monthly tests were intended not just for purpose of assessment but to put to account students who were not very serious with the assignments/tasks and Google Classes. We are happy that it just got over and the SAT/HoDs are waiting for the consolidated results for analysis and record. Please note that consolidated results will be available and a student/parent can access his/her result using the password issued by the ICT Dept/Class Teacher by 8th May, 2020.
It was resolved during the SAT/HoDs Meeting on Friday, 1st May, 2020 that each HoD must conduct a meeting observing health protocols for their department. The meetings were convened observing strict health protocols and got over on 6th May, 2020. The meetings were aimed to:
Share e-teaching good practices
Boost teachers to enhance and innovate on e- teaching
Ensure well balanced coverage of EiE curriculum
Further complement the lessons delivered on BBS
Inform on proper documentation of task carried out by the teachers and the students
See that teachers do have effective quality communication with students and parents on other SMPs
Look for amicable solutions to the challenges teachers, students and parents are facing
Prepare for “Preparedness and Response Plan for their class” – this sharing is going to help the HoD of the Department to prepare, “Departmental: Preparedness and Response Plan”.
PD on Google Classroom:
The SAT/HoDs has been emphasizing on further strengthening the e-teaching strategies. ICT Department has been conducting a series of professional development (PD) programs on Google Classroom based on the request of the HoD for his Department. The PD programs were designed to help teachers who are struggling with e-teaching. UA’s distance learning solutions (DLSs) slogan, “You connect or disconnect”, there is no third option in e-teaching made the impetus on EiE loud and clear.
Google Classroom Guest Teacher(s):
The SAT also recommended and encouraged HoDs/Class Teachers to facilitate invitation of teachers teaching the same subject as guest teacher. Obviously, the lesson will pick up if the guest teacher is better with e-teaching and so will the teacher learn.
BBS Key Stage Lessons:
The SAT/HoDs are convinced that all the teachers are complementing on the BBS Key Stage Lessons for their subjects and that other social media platforms (SMPs) and parents chat groups are employed to engage all the students if possible. SAT/HoDs also appreciated teachers who used “Zoom, Webinars, etc…” to foster quality discussion on important or difficult concepts in technical subjects such as mathematics, accountancy, and sciences. It has also been decided that we try to achieve the 100% attendance in e-learning.
Preparedness and Response Plan for Your Department:
The recent Private Schools Association of Bhutan (PSAB) meeting attended by Principal did discuss proposing our government to consider opening of schools following strict COVID-19 protocols. Boarding schools with strict monitoring or totally shut off to visitors can be practiced; it definitely is nothing new. Our neighbor Thailand, which is off limits to foreigners and international airlines, has allowed international boarding schools to operate with strict protocols. Hence, in the event the government considered schools to open if schools had convincing, “Preparedness and Response Plan” to guarantee safety for students, UA should be number one school to open as all our teachers including the support staff thinks that we will be fine. Therefore, while the SAT is revising, “UA’s Preparedness and Response Plan for Outbreak of Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)”, it is most vital that each department comes with one Preparedness and Response Plan to best fit the larger interest of the Department from both ALS and safety point of views. As asserted the SAT will consider the departmental plan to prepare the final version of “UA’s Preparedness and Response Plan for School Opening: 2020” – a prioritized risk mitigation measures within the school consulting health experts.
Belongings of Boarding Students:
Although a few boarding students came to get their things as they had left all their things in a hurry when the school was closed on 6th March, 2020, most students’ things are still lying in the hostels. Routine cleaning under supervision is carried out at least once a week. While we have absolutely no problems with bedding and clothes, we are quite concerned about the tucks left inside the lockers. The items may be getting bad or worse still it is attracting rodents and insects.
Hence, we have asked the matrons/wardens to request students/parents/guardians to see if they can arrange (observing strict health protocols) to come and remove the perishable food items from the lockers. Those tucks kept outside are being handed over by the matrons/wardens to Ata Lungten (Mess Supdt) to be kept in the cold storage.
UA Community Vitality Program (CVP):
The 16 fresh Dessups from UA are on their volunteer rounds during their free hours. Besides, UA has also accelerated its “Agriculture for Food Sustainability” Program. The UA Desuups have committed to take up a project under the program. This is to ensure that our mess can get some green vegetables from our own garden when the boarding students report.
Additionally UA will be involved in three more CVP activities. All the CVP activities as usual will be carried out observing strict health protocols:
Painting work in the Founder’s archive
6th May, 2020
Principal (Overall Concept)
Mr. Maitaraj Subba (Contemporary Art)
Lopen Kinzang Dorji (Traditional Art)
Miss Wangmo & Mr. Thinley (Collage art)
Mr.Heerun & Mr.Phurba (Lay out and Support)
Offering of prayers and butter lamps at Rada Lhakhang, MTC, Tencholing, Wangdiphodrang Day 14th Day Observation Late - Dasho Goongloen Lam Dorji, UA Family Member
at 2PM on 9th May, 2020
UA Desuups/SAT (permission sought from MTC Commandant)
Prayers, Butter lamps and Mass Cleaning in memory of our Founder Late Dasho Yab Ugyen Dorji
9th May, 2020 to 12th May, 2020
UA Green Force/UA Desuups from Khamsum Namgyel Chorten, Zomlaythang, to Anim Dratshang beginning and ending with offering of prayers and butter lamps
Day 1: Offering of Butter Lamp in Khamsum Namgyel Chorten and Mass Cleaning
9th May, 2020
Khamsum Namgyel Chorten, Zomlaythang, to Lekithang - Punakha Central School Gate (LD)
Day 2: Offering of Butter Lamp in Punakha Dzong and Mass Cleaning
10th May, 2020
Lekithang (PCS Gate) to Khuruthang (FCB Gate) (SoS)
Day3: Offering of Butter Lamp in Khuruthang Lhagang and Mass Cleaning
11th May 2020
Khuruthang to Wolokha Hostel (Com Dept)
Day 4: Offering of Butter Lamp in Sangchen Dorji Lhendrub Choling, Nunnery, Wolokha and Mass Cleaning
12th May, 2020
Anim Dratshang to Wolokha Hostel (Arts Dept)
After all is said and done, we accept that we continue to face a host of challenges when it comes to teaching or assessing remotely; the digital divide - grappling with unfamiliar technologies, misuse of e-resources, or those who are facing domestic problems, resource problems, recalcitrant and risk behavior — the list goes on. We recognize that there’s no reasonable way to replicate a school day in our homes – a school is a school after all. Therefore, we hope and pray for life to regain normalcy and schools to reopen soon.
Finally, let me again thank each one of you from the core of my heart for all the sacrifices made. I am very sure with the amount of collaboration and dedication we will continue to excel – we will.
Our monthly tests for the month of March and April 2020 are beginning from today (Saturday, April 25, 2020). Like the monthly tests conducted during regular academic sessions, the online tests will cover only those topics covered under the EiE curriculum or UA’s Distance Learning Solutions (DLSs). Accordingly, the assessment criteria have been innovated to suit the e-learning and teaching (EiE) environment.
We are attaching the Time Table and the Assessment Criteria so that all are aware of the kind of assessment(s) we are trying to come up with, after coming to grips with the online delivery (DLS) of the EiE curriculum. Kindly go through the time table and the assessment criteria and provide us your valuable feedback. We must admit that it is not perfect; it is rather a temporary solution to ensure that we partner with the parents, meaningfully engage our students and jointly make an assessment.
At the same time, we are all aware that we are all facing a host of challenges when it comes to teaching or assessing remotely; the digital divide - grappling with unfamiliar technologies, those who lack adult supervision, or those who are facing domestic problems, resource problems — the list goes on. Therefore, it will be our sacred responsibility to help such students, if not now, even later when the school re-opens.
Meanwhile, driven by a pandemic to the front lines of an unprecedented rush to distance-learning, we don’t have a choice but to be inundated in our own respective groups in Google classrooms, messenger, telegram, We-chat, emails, texts, BBS Lessons, and calls – a desperate attempt to keep education going. We are all stressed and to some degree panic-stricken but we must work together to get through this crisis.
We remain very certain that with the amount of love, care and concern from our beloved His Majesty, the heroic efforts of our government; the ever-rising fountain of prayers from our “Zhung Dratshang” (Central Monastic Body – CMB) and the collaboration of Bhutanese people, the pandemic will end soon and life will spring back to normalcy. It will.
In the wake of the MoH confirming the first coronavirus (COVID-19) case in the country, the School Administration Team has come up with an UA Emergency Plan for Covid-19 Hence, please note the following important extract from the UA Emergency Plan for Covid-19 until further notice: No classes will be conducted
- Day students including the ones in PGs (residing outside of the school) will not come to school
- No outing for boarding students but there will regulated activities to keep students engaged
- Boarding Students on leave will not report to the hostel
- Boarding students wishing to go home can go home only if parents/guardians come to get them
- Visitors will not be allowed to meet students nor are they allowed into the campus
- Parcels and letters will not be accepted into the school campus
- All must strictly follow hand hygiene and take precautionary measures as per School Health Officers’ instructions
- Anyone in the campus feeling ill will report to the School Health Officers immediately
- The School Administrative Officers must ensure 24X7 water supply in the hostels
- All staff members inside the campus will have to comply and work in tandem with the School Health Officers’ instructions
- Above all, please do not panic, we will work and pray together to see that ALL are safe.