School of WILL: Winner, Innovators, Leaders & Learners

Principal's Message

Dear Parents, (Teachers, and Students),

 

COVID -19 has put us all in limbo and our children’s education is suffering. The entire world is holding out for a cure and we continue to struggle to solve the complex equation of reopening schools. Up until now, we waited for schools to reopen, and now with the risk of community spread looming large, we really remain unsure.

Apparently, many teachers and students are struggling with online classes and at the same time, we do understand that some parents are going through tough economic times. Added with the burden of having to again take care of children and monitor their online classes makes it nightmarish. Again for that matter, the cognitive-developmental risks are more significant for students from such disadvantaged backgrounds. We are also aware that some students might be working to augment the family income and hence, will be removed from eLearning - mainly Google classes. We have learnt that there’s no reasonable way to replicate a school day in our homes – a school is a school after all.

 

Amid this enormous upheaval, we must relentlessly provide our full support to fight against COVID-19 and at the same time see that education continues in every possible way. At UA teachers have been trying their best to live up to our EiE Pledge, “My Students, My Responsibility - MSMY” (Versions 1 to 8) ever since the EiE curriculum was rolled out. 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 and conduct the assessments in our own way to complete the teaching cycle. The School Administration Team (SAT) and Heads of Departments (HoDs) meet at least twice weekly to plan and share important issues. Please find below some relevant issues resolved in our meeting on 12th June 2020:

 

  1. Term 1 Examinations: Like the monthly test we conducted in early May, the SAT/HoDs decided to conduct the Term I Examinations (Half Yearly/Mid-Term). The assessments will to a large extent help schools to look into educational disparities and problems in the wake of the pandemic. While we recognize that it may not be possible for some students to take the Term 1 Examinations, it remains equally important for a school to conduct some sort of assessment to measure the outcome of delivery of the EiE curriculum. The assessment modality for each subject will rest with the respective subject teacher – Re: Letter to Teachers attached.

 

Further, the assessments are going to help the teachers to course correct (remediation) online if schools continue to remain closed and also have strategic academic plans ready for implementation if school reopens. Please help us to help your child. We do understand that there will be students who no matter what will be difficult but as far as possible, we request every parent/guardian to ensure that their child takes the Term I Examinations. For us teachers, the willingness to take the exam is more important than the marks and there is nothing more important than integrity.

  1. Fees: At the moment the school is not able to ascertain the exact fees for the 2020 academic session. It must be fair for both the parents and the proprietor. Hence, it has to be differently done and the reasonable truncated amount will only be clear when the MoE provides clarity on the plan for the 2020 academic session. Nevertheless, the school is thinking of:
  2. School Fees: Like all other private schools in the country UA will also be offering concessions on fees based on other costs not incurred, such as electricity costs, office costs, and many co-curricular and extra-curricular activities not conducted.

 

  1. Boarding Fees: Discounts on boarding fees will again be made for costs not incurred, which includes mainly food, water, fuel, electricity, etc... Of course, we need to understand that the salaries for the boarding/mess staff are being paid regularly like for the teachers.

 

  1. Post-Covid Education:
  2. Blended Learning Approach: Even before the pandemic COVID-19, we had realized the greater importance of establishing a good infrastructure for online education. UA had already instituted a separate department called Distance Learning Solutions (DLS-Unit). In 2018 and 2019, we laid emphasis on SMART classes where children were allowed to use their electronic gadgets/school e-resources for eLearning. The school had already invested in four IT labs (three for the higher secondary and one for lower division) and two SMART Classrooms. We had stressed to our teachers the need to adapt to evolving technology-centered teaching. Even for the delivery of EiE curriculum, by and large, our teachers used a wide variety of VLEs besides Google Classrooms.

 

We remain convinced that teachers will have to be even more IT savvy and continue to harness the benefits of VLEs even if school reopens; we are planning for a customized version of blended learning - the combination of face-to-face and online learning. Consequently, we will be allowing students to come with their electronic gadgets to school. Having said so, our challenge will be to e-discipline all our students – a real big challenge. Nonetheless, we are prepared to come up with an added feature in our values education classes – Values education for the 21st Century Technology-Based Education. Additionally, we have already requested our proprietor to up-grade our existing ICT facilities and also invest in the capacity building of teachers for effective blended learning.

 

  1. Boarding facilities:

On 3rd June 2020, our Proprietor along with School Administration Team (SAT) spent the day studying how our existing facilities can be remodeled to suit the post COVID educational needs. For example, making of cubicles in the existing dormitories to provide privacy for individual study and space for maintaining health protocols; each dormitory housing 24 students currently will accommodate 12 to 16 students - just 2 or 3 in each cubicle. There should be provision for the internet, self-service launderette, drying rooms, recreational areas, etc. in the dormitories.

 

At this juncture, we feel it is of considerable importance for parents to share your valuable insights on the above issues or any other matters pertaining to your child’s education in UA. Please note that I will be mindful not to share any sensitive issues. My email id: pk.ugyenacademy@education.gov.bt

 

Finally, I thank each one of you for your support and understanding as we, as a country and community, responded to the unexpected invasion of COVID-19 in early March. At the same time, we remain forever indebted for the amount of love, care, and concern from our beloved His Majesty, the relentless efforts of our government; the ever-rising fountain of prayers from our “Zhung Dratshang” – we are safe because we are given good care.

 

 

 

Lopen Norbu Gyaltshen

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News/Announcements

Once again...

UA welcomes Classes IXs and XI Science on 19th and 20th September 2020. Come with care. Travel safely; bring along happiness and “Be Your Best”. Check the attachments for details of reporting.

 

Requirements for Students:

Given the Lockdown experience, the SAT felt that parents/guardians should see to it that their child’s essential items for the remaining academic session is as far as possible with them when they come so that unnecessary risks and expenditure can be avoided – listed below :

 

As informed by class teachers, the students must come with the following:

  1. At least 3 sets of washable face masks
  2. Re-sealable bag or container for keeping spare masks
  3. Tissue papers
  4. Phone with Druk Trace app as they will be asked to scan on entry and will have to use for Google Classes (blended Approach)
  5. Personal Hand Sanitizer(s) - for emergency use
  6. Water Bottle (No sharing)
  7. Mosquito Nets (mandatory for boarding students)
  8. Enough soaps and essential toiletries
  9. Stationery Items (pens/refills/pencils etc…)
  10. Project work materials and calculators as required by the subject
  11. Medical prescriptions (if checked recently or is or was undergoing medical treatment)
  1. ***The extract from UA’s Preparedness and Response Plan (PRP) for Outbreak of Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) – Post Lockdown is available with the teachers – if parents/guardians need more detailed information please contact your child’s class teacher.

Phase wise Reporting Notice for classes IXs and XIs

Please take note of UA’s Reporting Dates: the School Administration Team (SAT) has phased out the reporting dates to ensure proper implementation of UA’s Preparedness and Response Plan for Outbreak of Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) – Post Lockdown

Reporting Sequence

Stream/

Classes

Boarders Reporting Date and Time

Classes Resume on

 The Only Point of Entry (OPoE):

 Screening and Health Protocols

 

1st Batch

IX A, B & C

 

Saturday 19th September 2020 All boarding student of Class IX A, B & C must report before 12(noon) PM

 

Monday 21st September 2020

*day students report as per SoPs given by respective class teachers/Head of School

 

*RBP or Desuups/UA Volunteers will regulate the traffic observing health protocols at Only OPoE (Gate 1)–UA Football Stadium Gate – Separate arrangement for classes IXs after 12M (noon) on 19th Sept 2020

*First the student(s) will enter from the Gate 1 (OPoE) -Student(s) volunteers will be there to help with the belongings

*Upon entry they will undergo thermal screening

*Referral to Flue Camp will only be made if demanded by HMSST (Based on records and temperature reading)

*Next, they will have to scan with Druk Trace app or register manually

*After that, the student volunteers will escort the students with their belongings into  decontamination /health protocols area for decontamination of footwear and belongings/hand wash

*After decontamination the student(s) are escorted to the class teachers for verification and issuance of Hostel Admit Ticket (HAT)/Class Admit Ticket (CAT)

*The student(s) must inform the Parents/Guardians over the phone the moment they receive the HAT/CAT 

*Parents/Guardians are advised to leave only after their child gets HAT/CAT

2nd Batch

UA School of Science: XI Sc A, B & C

Sunday 20th September 2020 All boarding student of Class IXs and XI Science Stream must report before 3 PM

3rd Batch

Arts Department: Classes XIs A,B,C

&

Commerce Department: Commerce A & B

Sunday, 27th September 2020

All Arts and Commerce Stream boarding students must report before 4 PM

Monday 28th September 2020

*day students report as per SoPs given by respective class teachers/HoD

 

Day students will also be screened while entering into the campus on the day when classes resume and declaration/undertaking form must be signed. There will be separate SoPs for day students which will have to be strictly followed by parents/guardians or proprietors of paying guests (PGs).

For SAT

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Kadrin-che-la Mewang-Choe

“Soelra” from our Her Majesty the Queen, Gyaltsuen Jetsun Pema Wangchuck - Kadrin-che-la Mewang-Choe

2020 was struck with a worldwide pandemic, a disease that found its way into the land of the thunder dragon, Bhutan. With panic and fear engraved into the hearts of the citizens, our country had no choice but to go in lockdown. Despite the occurrence of this unfortunate event, we as citizens have been able to see the rays of hope in the darkness of Covid-19. Had it not been for the rapid solutions and leadership of our beloved King and Queen, we would be helpless. Fortunate as we are, we are also being sheltered under the protection of our Dharma Kings, His Majesty the King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and King Jigme Singye Wangchuck.

Amidst this lockdown, people faced many challenges, family schedules went upside down, and basic necessities of the people especially of young girls in boarding schools ran short. Even money had no meaning; the lockdown was lifted, unlocking empty shops.

On the other hand, we are blessed to have received this valuable “soelra” from our Her Majesty the Queen, Gyaltsuen Jetsun Pema Wangchuck. No words can express our gratitude for this heartfelt and thoughtful “soelra”; even then we would like to sincerely thank Her Majesty for being our light in the darkness. We pledge our loyalty for all times to come. Kadrin-che-la Mewang-Choe…

UA Girls Health Captains

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Dear Parents and Guardians,

Firstly, I am aware that most parents are better informed about UA then sometimes people like us who are with the students 24 X 7. It is because unlike other schools, UA has given your child some regulated time to use their mobile to connect to their loved ones – parents and family members. Also, UA boarding students before the lock down enjoyed the OiE OiE outings (Re: Attachment 1).

Yet, as we continue to navigate through the storms of COVID-19 pandemic, I am writing today to ease your worry as much as possible given all media around the Corona virus. As you know, providing a healthy and safe campus environment has always been a priority and now has become the topmost priority for Ugyen Academy. Thus, we have remodeled our entire Human Resource Structure and Terms of References to suit the needs of the New Normal. In a post-covid-19 education system, we have no choice but to bring our attention to providing the best possible health services in the school campus; choosing from the best, we have instituted the UA Health and Medical Support Services Team (HMSST). Today, we take pride as a school in our HMSST’s ability to safely address most of the health problems inside the school campus, thereby minimizing exposure to diseases and reducing movement in these challenging and changing times.

Academics (ALS)

Our next priority will obviously be our children’s academics; arguably some could consider it even as the most important and that is perfectly fine. Anyway, everyone is aware that we are all rolling out the Education in Emergency (EiE), EiE Adapted Curriculum (UA Classes VII, VIIIs, IXs, and XIs - all three streams) and EiE Prioritized Curriculum (UA Classes Xs and XIIs - all three streams) developed by our Ministry of Education and the Royal Education Council. Given the pandemic, none of this is easy and much of it is out of our control, so I ask for your understanding and constructive comments as I share the following information about the two:

EiE Adapted Curriculum (UA Classes VII, VIIIs, IXs, and XIs (all three streams) :

Firstly, we are happy to share that, our proprietor is investing in upgrading our ICT facilities. Next, our Distance Learning Solutions Support Services Team (DLSSST) is strengthened; it is now a new Department in the New Normal. DLSSST has been able to have intranet facilities inside our campus and this makes access and delivery of e-Lessons quick and friendly without having to worry about data cost. DLSSST is also initiating webinars; group chats and live streaming as alternatives to in-person gatherings. Meanwhile, for the students, the teachers have been conducting Google classes as per the guidelines provided for delivery. Besides, UA adopted its own customized approach, “My Students, My Responsibility - MSMR” a pledge driven method to maximize the quality virtual connection between the subject teacher and his/her students (Re: Attachment 2- MSMR 10).

As evident, from the MSMR 10, the teacher is supposed to have had the best possible delivery of the EiE Adapted Curriculum in the Google Classroom/online class. The School Administration (SAT) is very happy with almost all the teachers’ efficacy in Google Classrooms/online classes - as per the reports (MSMR 1 – MSMR 10) submitted on a fortnightly basis. However, we understand that all our parents may not be happy with teachers handling the subject(s) for your child/children. In case, if a teacher has failed, then, do let SAT know in the email provided. We will follow up to see that your child/children is/are taken care of immediately in that/those subjects. Monitoring teachers in the virtual world is a very complex task but SAT is trying its best; it where parents can inform us as you know better how the child is being engaged in the Google classroom by each subject teacher.

EiE Prioritized Curriculum (UA Classes Xs and XIIs (all three streams):

Except for the students repeating in class XIIs, our coverage is very good for all classes (across all three streams) as we did not lose time in the beginning and nor did we lose much time in-between. We had made sure to invest more time during closure (Google classes) to non-technical subjects (mainly languages) as it was quite friendly for online classes. Hence, the moment we got to go face to face instruction, our priority has been on the technical subject (mainly mathematics, accountancy, economics, and sciences). Even with the disruption now, we are following up with serious remediation exercises to ensure that our students achieve the best – as always. Further, we are already into the blended approach with formal instruction in online mode – Google classroom. This is to guarantee that the day students are not missed out and that the teachers who reside outside the school campus are able to virtually reach to all his/her students. Therefore, please do not worry, UA teachers have the ability to strategically plan and implement even in difficult times or in this New Normal.

UA Students’ Engagement Activities during COVid-19 Nationwide Lock down:

With the nation under lock down, many parents may be interested to know how we are engaging our students. Definitely, anxiety, uncertainty, fear, and isolation are factors in the COVID-crisis. Research has indicated that these have become more prevalent. Hence, all of us have to think more carefully about building a sense of community and human contact through this challenging and changing times-we must be #inthistogether. Yes, there is a risk that by focusing on academics only or for that matter keeping them indoors most of the time; we could forget that wellness needs to come first. While checking in with students to make sure that they are coping is important, allowing students to connect with one another in activities that help them to build emotionally is the new mantra for excellence in the New Normal. Thus, to provide the much needed pastoral care and support our students' engagement in co-curricular and extracurricular activities is taken to be a collective responsibility (Re: Attachment 3 - UA Students’ Engagement Activities during CoVid-19 Nationwide Lockdown).

We will continue to adapt and adopt innovative practices to keep all our students meaningfully engaged. Come what may, UA will ensure that your child’s/children’s education will not be compromised but raised. Thank you for your continued support and for entrusting the safety of your children to us.

Sincerely,

Lopen Norbu Gyaltshen

 

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CORONA-TION WEEK, AN ENVIRONMENT WEEK

2nd June 2020: Social Forestry Day to commemorate the Coronation of our beloved King HM Jigme Singye Wangchuck who is the first ‘Champion of the Earth’ award in 2005 instituted by UNEP.

4th June 2020: Birthday of our Her Majesty The Gyaltsuen, the patron of environment preservation in Bhutan.

5th June 2020: World Environment Day (WED) is one of the biggest events celebrated in the world every year; it is supposed to be the "People's Day" to do something to take care of the earth and the environment. We are not doing but polluting. Thanks to the CORONA pandemic lockdown, the earth got time to heal a bit, the sky is clearer, and the air cleaner.

I am happy that Lord Buddha joined us this year on WED to teach us mindfulness - to be mindful of our actions on the world. CORONA would have never come if we did not harm other living creatures.

I feel we should observe a CORONA-TION week each year - a CORONA pandemic lockdown on earth each year. For 2020 we did our part during the CORONA-TION WEEK, AN ENVIRONMENT WEEK
Happy CORONA-TION Weekend.

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About Ugyen Academy
School of WILL


Established in
2002
Students
1012
Total Staffs
79

Awards