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.   


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