Spontaneous expression of thoughts and emotions in words.

Tracksuits in Schools- should it be banned?

At a time when we are talking of wholesome education, quality education, excellence in sports along sides academics and off course value education, there comes a sudden announcement from the Thimthrom about the banning of the use of tracksuits in schools.

sports pic 3

Photo courtesy: Druk School Web Site

Well, anything that is banned calls for reverse reactions from the public and so did this tracksuit thing too. People from all walks of life raised their voice either for or against the issue.

But one thing came out very clear. What is that we are looking for? Can we promote culture and tradition just by banning a tracksuit? Or can we promote wholesome education by allowing the use of it? Or could we have struck to a middle path to maintain the balance?

Tracksuit 1

Photo Courtesy: DYS Web Site

Could we not have found a way to move towards wholesome education while at the same time maintaining the culture and tradition?

I am always reminded of a conversation I had with my education minister who always shares what he understood from the audience of His Majesty The King. Although I had an opportunity of many audiences with His Majesty, I have never heard His Majesty speaking on this topic or else I would have remembered and talked about it.

eating with hands

balling rice in hands

Photo Courtesy: Tourism Council of Bhutan Web Site

But then my Lyonpo had an opportunity and he narrates the address of HM’s speech like this, ‘HM says that while we teach our kids to learn to eat like balling our rice in our hands, at the same time we should teach our youngsters to eat with their fork and spoon too”

eating with fols and spoons

Photo Courtesy: Tourism Council of Bhutan Web Site.

The vision is very clear. As far as I understood it simply means while we teach culture and tradition to our kids, we should also teach them the modern means of moving with the changing pace of the world.

And how can we move with the world when we are so bigoted to think that wearing a tracksuit in schools will wear off the culture and tradition?

How can we even think of moving ahead if our mindset is fixated on just a simple tracksuit? When the whole idea of education could be focused on how to divert our youth from the ill effects of social menace like drug abuse, alcohol abuse, teenage pregnancy, and suicides and so on to make them a better human being?

It is one thing to have a Royal Vision, It is another thing how the subjects interpret the Royal Vision. I hope at the end officials working at relevant agencies do realize what it means to be interpreting the Royal Vision into ACTIONS.

“The Vision 2020 document enjoins that, ‘education must be guided by a holistic concept based upon the total development of the child and the need to ensure that the innate potential of each and every child is fully realized.” (Vision 2020).

Sports has become very popular all over the world and in many countries has also become a significant source of employment and livelihood. In Bhutan unfortunately, sports is still seen as little more than ‘play’ and many students do not participate even in that. Research proves however that the benefits of sports in school are multi-fold and it is high time this was recognized. (Source: Pelkhil School Web Site.)

Here are some comments on the social media that I captured reacting to the ban.

 Sonam Norbu

Before going into the tracksuit thing, Why is Thimphu Thromde’s Education Conference held in Paro? I think We talk a lot about being financially smart but this kind of small things matter a lot.

And coming to tracksuits, it’s a great idea to be in proper attire for PE classes. The issue is with misunderstanding and misusing of the purpose of children wearing tracksuits. I feel we should be smart enough to have amendments and should be rethinking of how conveniently we can have tracksuits, rather than disallowing. The harsh and rude Banning culture in Bhutan ought to change with time. However we see few schools in tracksuits on most occasions for some other manageable inconveniences also. I feel the purpose of having tracksuits in schools should be given priority and then the use of it ought to be done accordingly.
Let tracksuits be there but for their purpose.

Benji Dorji

Shocked at Thimphu Thromde’s notice banning tracksuits in schools. The Ministry of Education is the ‘competent ‘ authority, definitely not the Thromde!

Tashi Dorji

Another ill-thought ban. Total bungle-up of priorities…what about coming out with good bans such as ban on potholes , ban on overflowing sewage on the roads, ban on dirty, open drains, ban on dirty, drinking water, ban on restricted water supply, oh the list goes on

Tsèyang Nidup

For the life of me… a decision made in Paro, by officials from the THIMPHU Thromde… 🤣 If such decisions were to be made, couldn’t the team have done it from Thimphu itself? Why do we need an Education Conference within an Annual Education conference? The money pocketed for such a ludicrous decision, could’ve been put to better use!!!
And, our country is in debt !!!

Luengten Dem

It really needs rethinking…..its is very troublesome for students and teachers alike…..wearing tracksuit by allstudents is a uniform…it does not dilute any of the cultural aspects…….what about the uniform policemen who hoist and takedown the flag near the Tashichodzong.

Luengten Dem

I am sure the thromde will reconsider n invite wider participation next time . Some rules will only bring more problems and less respect for the more important rules. Is it like gender equality …women playing khuru n archery…or even may be mask dancing..

Sangay Lhamo

Lucky I …will twiddle my thumbs while kids change into their tracksuits and come to do their SUPW.
Pelkhil Dorji

…and here’s the Kuensel article on the issue. So what’s the issue:
1. Are school tracksuits destroying Bhutan’s traditions?
2. Are school sports not important?
3. Are common sense solutions not allowed?

Unfortunately, many schools had tracksuits even though they had no sports programs. The question however should not be “Why are they wearing sports clothes?” but “Why don’t they have sports programs?”

Wide participation in sports in our schools is looking increasingly unlikely unless parents and students begin to speak up.

Chablop PaSsu

Lockers in the school, changing room, bathroom and toilets… first
Then talk about the rest.

Chencho Lhamu

Makes me wonder if we equate cultural promotion with preservation. To me preservation means valuing the past and promotion means to allow the culture to take on new shades and dimensions. Preservation and promotion goes hand in hand but it doesn’t mean stemming the culture from progressing. Honestly, had it not been for the dynamism of RAPA, the Boedra dance would have died. Youth would have long despised the stoic and abrupt dance steps we were taught long ago. But RAPA progressed innovatively, we see our youth take Boedra dance to a new level.

Thukten Yeshi

I wonder how a track suit designed as a uniform for a school is any different from uniforms worn by our military personnel. And our national anthem is sung in all sports meet where Bhutan participates. This rule is as ridiculous as the ada racha rule.


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6 thoughts on “Tracksuits in Schools- should it be banned?

  1. Thrompon wants gold medal n fishing for Red scarf. He’s in love n will Om come on BBS on the tracksuit ban n why etc.
    Track suits are designened for students to wear for purposes like:
    Fatigue/cleaning/gardening n games
    This will give parents to save the formal uniform is On certain days of the week
    Helps them to be free n relaxed from wearing uniforms n helps change from routine conditioning. Thromde’s culture reason Is farce n far fetched!

  2. As voiced by many, it is sad that our nation’s capital was not fit enough to host the erudite Committee members. As a result, they had to meet in Paro to work “effortlessly” to pass such a profound resolution – and yet another BAN.

    Many of us grew up watching His Majesty, the Fourth Druk Gyalpo, playing basketball in Changlimithang. His Majesty always played basketball wearing the national dress but never commanded that the other players also wear gho on court. We marvelled at how graciously and fluidly His Majesty moved around the court in his gho. Even after a serious game of basketball, His Majesty’s kho would be immaculate. Many of us grew up with this image that made us proud to wear the gho; and mind you, wear it well. The message was passed in a subtle manner, but the impact was tremendous.

    Gho is the uniform for schools all over Bhutan but I am left aghast at the different shapes and styles kids wear it, especially when they head home at the end of the day. I can safely wager that more than 50% of the children have their “zho” in “shally shully” fashion – I hope you got the drift. This is visible evidence that the gho is not convenient for many things and that the use of track suits could help children engage in a host of other activities, outside the classroom.

    101 reasons have been given as to why the decision to ban track suits in schools is a bad idea.

    For me, the culture of banning has to stop. Full stop.

    Moreover, schools need more independence in terms of how they function and should not be at the mercy of such arbitrary, but lofty Committees.

    In this instance, a simple directive to the schools to ensure the proper use of tracksuits was enough; not another BAN.

  3. Karma on said:

    This decision isn’t made by the Thrompon although it has been signed by the Thromde. It seems the decision was made by a special committee consisting of 5 Principals of schools in Thimphu chaired by the Thromde education office. It is amazing the power an ad hoc committee can assume from behind the scenes.

    The Committee members were:
    Principal, YHSS
    Principal Changzamgtok LSS
    Principal, Jigme Namgyal MSS
    Principal, Jungshina PS
    Principal, Rinchen Higher Secondary School
    Chair, Thromde Education

  4. Karma on said:

    sorry, it was not Changzamtok but Changangkha principal.

    • Dorji on said:

      It is even more frustrating to know who was on the Committee. Are these Principals so removed from ground realities in their schools. Sad to think that our children are in the hands of such narrow-minded people, and that too school principals.

  5. Yeshey Dorji on said:

    I am not sure that I am right but it is my belief that educational institutions in Bhutan are, by necessity, regulated and structured in a way that they meet the national objectives of uniformity in course content, method of teaching, assessment, extracurricular activities, dress code etc. …. always keeping in mind the ultimate product we want the schools and colleges to produce. This means that every institution of learning in the country is a part of the whole. Thus the schools in Thimphu Thromde cannot frame and enforce rules and regulations that are not in conformity with the rest of the schools in the country.

    One has to question whether the five Principals who supposedly passed the tracksuit rule are vested with the authority to do so.

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