Monday, January 11, 2010

What was the agenda of the 13th annual education conference?

Most such conference usually ends up with the usual in-house problems that people face, which can be solved as part of the administrative work. Conferences are usually held to review the past performance and chalk out the future activities.

For some sad reason, the conference did not come out with something that really mattered in the long run and most of the discussions only focused on the administrative issues, which if the institution, department or the ministry had taken a little more effort could have been solved.

It was obvious that the dzongkhag education officers had some or other problem ranging from strategies for enhancing NFE and adult education to difference in enrolment due to rural-urban migration and misprints in budget allocation figures.

There were of course of the issue of stipends for students in Gasa, the bad or dated rations being supplied to schools and essay competition in rural schools. These are matters best solved at the administrative level. Or so it is thought.

Of course, there might be problems. It is often the complaint of most organizations at the rural level that their point of view is never heard or listened to. A conference of this nature and status is considered the platform where all such views could be aired, if not heard or taken action on.

No matter how small the issues may look from the national point of view, sitting in Thimphu, for some one sitting in a remote ramshackle school, they are important. The lack of something basic which, for people in the capital is of no consequence, presents a constraint on a rural teacher to make progress in teaching his class.

That is only one aspect. The teachers themselves have to face deprivation, ranging from lack of decent living space to supply of food and other essential commodities. Entertainment is a different story.

What was most interesting was the fact that Lyonpo Powdyel said that every child must receive basic education. He also pointed out the reasons: the parental carelessness, inadequate finances, and finally the complex education system from the past.

When education has been given a top priority in our development plans, why these small hindrances were not looked into is a small question to ask.

Education in the country has come a long way since the days when children used maize grains to form letters way back in the 1950s to the use of chalk and slates. Today, we have many Bhutanese experts who passed out from renowned universities, manning our educational institutions, planning the future course, which makes us all proud.

Somewhere along the line, something has gone awry. With all the good intentions, our education system has not been able to meet the required standard. No wonder, people talk of low standard of Bhutanese education. Or rather it is going down.

Thankfully, the talk of low standard of education has become a matter of the past. At one time, this was a big issue. Every one jumped at it and expressed their views. There is nothing bad for the education department to feel bad about. In fact, if one takes it with an open heart, it is a good feedback.

The only problem is that some feedbacks make you think, some annoy you and some make you angry. But we have no room to be annoyed or angry.

We should think over what they say. It is not always nice to listen to what others say.

But it does a lot good to listen.


  1. "...our education system has not been able to meet the required standard."

    Interesting statement, yet too easily said in this many words. Pardon me for this. I have often wondered what people mean by 'the required standard.' Where is it? Where can we find it? Who made the standard? And, finally, who evaluated whether the system has been able to meet the standard?

    I do agree that there is plenty of room for improvement in terms of facilities and the last mile delivery in the classroom, but to say the system does not meet the required standard is a bit hard to provide concrete evidence for, isn't it?

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