Friday, 15 June 2012

Land slide ahead

We have started the process of going to the Chiwogs to conduct Zomdue for the formulation of the 11th FYP and we started with Khailo Chiwog. Halfway through the farm road we could see a land slide ahead. My mind suddenly went to the walk through the short cut filled with small and big, green and yellow, assorted leeches and I gave an involuntary shudder. But upon further investigation we found that if we were able to remove a big boulder and we could pass through. Luckily I had three men (Gup, Livestock and Agri) for company and that which had always been a disadvantage worked to my advantage that day. Of course, I was not total useless – I stood beside them and gave them moral support J After that episode we were able to continue our journey without any obstacles despite the steep road and the heavy downpour.

The journey to have lunch was an even bigger adventure amongst a pool of very slippery mud, leeches and screams. Instead of the Ugg boots on my feet, the famous Gumboots would have been a better choice but I didn’t have the latter and I chose the former as protection from the bloodthirsty leeches. Somewhere along the way, the Gup who was piloting the journey, lost a shoe in the mud and walked barefoot onwards. In spite of everything, we were to find a little humor in that, although I am not sure somebody would beg to differ.

After lunch we made our way downwards again because that was where the meeting was schedules to be held. The participants included men, women, the old AND kids. Just as I was happy that I would finally be rid of the creepy leeches outside, we were swarmed by flies inside which I had to keep chasing away because they were so annoying. Sadly its numbers were intensified by a million fold with the serving of tea. Halfway through the meeting, it started to rain outside again and my mind wandered to the return journey and the disastrous road but I tried hard to bring myself back to the matter at hand.

Despite the murmurs and the kids fighting, screaming and making hell, we had an animated discussion with a very vocal group. They had no problems expressing their opinions, which was excellent for us and we were able to get very good results even though they had to run outside once as their peaches were being attacked by monkeys. It was a very different atmosphere from our usual meetings but in a good way. I had a great time and although I was looking forward to a similar adventure in the other Chiwogs also but except for the flies and leeches there were no other similarities (of course we got the same excellent results from the other Chiwog Zomdues also but who cares about that huh! Hehehehe)  

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Sherig Century

Yesterday we celebrated Sherig Century, hundred years of Modern Education, in the School which was graced by Dasho Dzongdag and Dzongrab. They were mentioning in their speeches how far Bhutan has come on that road, the differences when they were in school and the current school environment. There indeed is a difference of the sky and the earth, and even for me who graduated about eight years ago, I can still see a lot of differences in the facilities available then and now.

But there are still some people who are bold enough to say there has been not much of a difference (they must be blind). When we were conversing, someone, I won’t mention who, said that the education system has not moved forward as much and there is not much difference then and now. He said that the color of the board has changed from black to green but that was about it and that it was time for Bhutan to digitalize the classroom environment in all the schools. I hope he was talking about Bhutan only though. I mean right now we are dependent on donors to implement our five year plans. We import almost everything and export next to nothing. And at this very moment we are facing a rupee crisis which we have not been able to solve till date! At such a time, when we depend on others for even the vegetables that we eat, such a dream seems unrealistic. I don’t know, that’s just my opinion.

Anyways, I don’t want to bitch about what other people might be thinking (says the person who’s already don’t bitching J) But on a serious note I think Bhutan has come a long way in terms of the education system and its accessibility. From having to walk for days to go to school, most villages today have easy access to schools and even when they don’t, schools with boarding facilities are always close by. There are computer and science labs in almost all the schools and most students are not so alienated when they come in contact with a computer.

There is a vast difference in the education system then and now, but there is an even bigger difference in the students. When we were studying in primary school our teachers used to thrash us for not knowing something, failing in a test, not writing homework, talking in class, chewing in class………all in all, everything! I had this Dzongkha teacher when I was studying in class six who would pinch us behind our arms till we were blue for not knowing one spelling. Irrespective I never once argued back and even when I would complain to my father, he would just scold me back. But students today make hell if you so much as pat them. Despite being provided with so many facilities, and that is also free of cost, I have often heard them complain about the things that are not available. And drugs, alcohol and creating mayhem seems to be a high priority instead of studies whereas appreciation and respect for teachers seems to be hanging near zero. Most people don’t realize how difficult a task it is to be a teacher. Lesson plans, classes, club activities, sports, question paper preparation and correction and the list goes on. I know how difficult it is because I tried it for a few months but I gave up because it was too much for me. But there are those who go on and we should be thankful for that.

As Bhutan completes a hundred years of modern education, I will take this opportunity to thank our kings for their visions, the Government for their hard work but most of all the teachers who taught me, my husband who is a teacher and the teachers all over Bhutan, who have made so many sacrifices and touched so many lives and changed them forever. It is because of them that we have achieved this milestone and hope that there will come a time when we will be celebrating a millennia.