A bold scheme

Our government’s decision to award grants to private medical students is bold. But it is wrong.

It is bold because it shows that our government can take unconventional measures to get things done – in this case to train more doctors.

But it is wrong because awarding grants to private medical students will not increase the number of doctors. Current private medical students will graduate and become doctors even if the government doesn’t intervene. So helping them will not add to the pool of doctors.

It is wrong because the unexpected grant will benefit current private medical students unfairly. They would enjoy the government’s generosity without having to compete for it.

It is wrong if our government’s decision is, as our education minister reportedly told Kuensel, “… in response to requests made by students”. We have thousands of students studying privately abroad. And it must be that many of them would have even more compelling requests for support.

It is wrong because our government has taken this decision without first understanding how the scheme will be put into practice. Or, for that matter, if it can be put into practice. The “implementation modalities” are only now being developed even as the public continues to voice serious concerns.

And it is wrong because our government should not single out medical students when the country also faces severe shortages of professionals in other areas. These include lawyers and pilots, chartered accountants and chefs, professors and architects, engineers, and even teachers. Will the government help these private students as well?

We need our government to be bold. But that’s not all. Our government must be bold and right. Otherwise we, the people will loose trust and confidence in our own government. And that wouldn’t be good.

Our government should retract its decision.


Facebook Comments:


  1. The decision may not have been the best, but to retract it is not the solution now. Otherwise, there will be people always on the back of the Government to retract “right” decisions in future. Every coin has two sides.

    What the government has missed in informing the public is whether they are tying this scholarship with a bond to these budding doctors that they serve in Bhutan or more so in rural Bhutan. And for at least twice the duration of the scholarship grant period. This would make sense because under the existing rules, MBBS graduates under the privately funded scheme need not necessarily return to Bhutan or even if they do so, they need not work as government doctors. There is a big difference here.

  2. Anonymous says

    let them work where ever they want if they get…this decision should be withdrawn immediately else ppl will be out in street…

  3. Just a quick Suggestion.

    I had been following your blog for a while now, and I use it as one of my sources for government information back home. Let me offer my appreciation for your dedication and your effort in keeping the people informed. Your blog is an awesome innovation.

    However, I feel the need for an OFFICIAL Website for the Opposition Party. This will help establish and strengthen the otherwise weak opposition party as well as in keeping the people OFFICIALLY informed. I do not feel the need to lecture the oracle, but I am sure you will agree that the information on the activities of the Opposition Party is also a public domain.
    An official Website with accurate information and public forum will weigh more on our discussions and our effort in rightfully keeping the government from going astray. The website should be funded by a budget from the government ( I do not know how it works… others.. please add your views) and should proactively publish certain information so that anyone can access it at any given time.
    This will ensure our genuine concerns over government decisions like the the current medical grant.

    Thank you


  4. hi lobxang,

    i wonder how u missed their site, http://www.pdp.bt it was up-to-data till that h-hour. i don’t know y they neglected it all of a sudden when their party, the opposition is doing well. it would be very useful to complement this blog by providing the followups on the issues raised on this blog.overall it is a nice site…pdp please use it la…it simply shows how easy to defeat u guys…keep going with ur system that is in place…no matter what lol

  5. sorry the link didn’t appear..

    pdp site

  6. I have very Happy that the OL keeps his blog updated plus the openess to the comments. I went to Norling internet caffe and wanted to go to this blog but I was shocked that a message of security popped up which did not let me go to the site. I dont understand why the owner of the site blocked the OLs blog when there was nothing wrong in it. I hoped to get some answers from the lady clerk but she does not have anything to say. Can anyone tell me if there should be any reason to block the OLs blog.


  7. Anonymous says

    Retraction will only have adverse ramification on the legitimacy and credibility of the ruling party.And this is not good for our nation! The ruling party should have weighed the pros and cons even before taking this decision. It certainly leads us to believe that the decision lacked the analytical foresight and practicality.

  8. “We need our government to be bold. But that’s not all. Our government must be bold and right. Otherwise we, the people will loose trust and confidence in our own government. And that wouldn’t be good.”

    Sir are you just putting forward a proposition to the public, you should be challengling against the decision if I m not wrong.

    How can they bring a overnight blanket prohibition, we should be alter it and i think thats what majority of people desire

  9. Anonymous says

    no question of executing bond or any of that sort as the root of the decision itself is tainted and barely accepted by 1%
    Retracting the decision and escalating the slots for MBBS is only the solution for the good interest of the society.
    Retracting the decision and reserving the fund for deserving people rather than foolishly letting out to quench the private interest,must be the good solution …….

  10. Anonymous says

    Once upon a time in a peaceful country far away, things started to change. The Lords called Management started behaving strangely – they sent their people overseas, despised hard working doctors, and started a whole culture of ass-licking. Fed up with long hours and bad management, the slaves called Doctors said, “We’ve had enough!” and wanted to quit. But the Lords said, “Nothing doing, you’re not going anywhere.” And so continued their saga. In the meantime some crafty doctors transformed into administrators, others ran away to join politics, and yet many still remained against their will.

    Now, before resolving this issue, master of the lords, the Cabinet, surprised everyone one day. “We don’t have enough doctors. Let’s start giving money to unqualified students. And we shouldn’t use merit as a selection criteria. No. Oh, did I say bring suspiciously qualified doctors from abroad? Oh, I covered that last time,” quipped Cabinet. “Now, let’s see what happens. By the way, did you say many of our children and relatives are covered if we gave away money just like that? This is fun!”

    So, the story continued, and this is how the health care system of a small nation grew from bad to worse, just as Cabinet and the Lords wished.

  11. Anonymous says


  12. If the grant or stipend announced is for students who do their board exam this december and if its done through a fair selection procedure,thats the best decision i feel..no idea yet for whom those jackpots are meant for.

  13. This is absolutely wrong!

    It’s another grant to the rich people. Even if the government awards Nu. 300,000 per year, parents/guardians of the private medical students still have to pay at least Nu. 600,000 per year to study in India; and that doesn’t come easy in Bhutan. So this way, it’s obvious that a grant of Nu. 300,000 is provided only to those who can afford to pay at least Nu. 600,000 per year. This is another classical “Chu Yoe Sa Charp Chap” story. What kind of justice is this?

    Instead, the government should provide more “full scholarships” to study medicine on merit basis. This is true “Drang Nyam and Drang Doen”.

  14. I do not upport the decision, as it stands but i am only trying to rationalise. If I were a privately funded student paying 600,000 a year and after 6 years come back to earn 15000 bucks a month, my return on investment would not be attractive. So i would then be encouraged to work where the returns are higher. Even as resident doctors, the same amount would come plus a masters degree in another three years (if i am lucky to qualify for one). So to say, this scheme must demonstrate its ability to draw in more doctors than Business As Usual. I wonder what % of privately funded doctors have been returning to Bhutan. The impact of the scheme could then be demonstrated by a higher return + rural posting. Otherwise there is no fun in this.

  15. Anonymous says

    This decision of our govt. under the banner of “Dranam Dang Drangdhen”/ “equity and justice” I personally fell is not right but the think tank of the govt. feels right so we have to accept it as right. This decision will surely broaden the gap between the haves and have nots, quality and credibility of the profession will come under question since this grant goes to the undeserving candidates(merit based ?)and as our Hon’ble OL has said, it might invite some sort disharmony among the different professionals who are currently the recipients of the govt. scholarships.

    Any way, its the govt.’s decision and all the best for would be beneficiaries of the GRANT.

  16. Anonymous says

    Our new government seems to have a new motto- reward those who do not deserve it, and those who definitely dont need any help. shame shame to the people who cover up by saying that this is in the national interest, “to solve our curremt probelm of doctor shortage.” This is corruption at a massive scale.
    How come we gave eleven guys the right to sit in a room every tuesday and come up with national decisions? I mean i know we elected them, but they sure are proving to us how incapable they are of taking decisions, and how naive, to beleive they can fool us by making excuses like “we are only solving problems” when they are actually increasing them. the students who did not get MBBS in the first place are the ones who are studying medicine privately. No offence to them, some of them may be smart, i dont know. but they got their chance at class 12 exams, if they did not qualify, they dont deserve the scholarships. There are many many children who missed the scholarships by points, who deserve the government grants.
    Our government is punishing the smartest people by forcing them to work in terrible conditions, and never letting them retire, or make money, “because we gave u a grant, you should be grateful.” And then, they are fully suporing the incapable people who do not deserve any grant in anyway, who have proved they dont deserve anytrhing. who is going to suffer in the end? inj the end, we all get sick. what are the big shots helping their incompetent kids do when they are really sick and need a good doctor? their own kids who couldnt qualify for MBBS but became doctors anyways will not be able to treat them, and the ones who can, will hate their jobs so much, after being harassed so much, that they might not do their jobs well either. In the end, you will need a mans skills, and however much money u give away to an incomp[etent, he will not grow brains.
    if we really want our country to grow, we should focus on supporting the smartest people, to do their thing the best they can do.
    Oh, by the way i heard lyonpo zangley say that we could promote Bhutan as a medical destination. i can only say “HA HA HA”. i mean, come on, kids who didnt qualify class 12, kids i personally know doing private medicine are going to be doctors in our country. i think we could promote bhutan as a suicide heaven, where people who want to die can come……….if our new generation of incompetent doctors who how to administer euthanasia, that is….

  17. dear OL, are u not going to say anything to oppose this directly to the cabinet? this is wrong wrong wrong. this goes against every morals, values and ethics we have ever been taught. this is showing us that the people who are incapable and the least deserving get the best in life. It is a mockery to everything we have been taught is right. Do u not have duties and rights, as the opposition leader, to oppose this firmly?

  18. Anonymous says

    Like the Iraqi guy who threw shoe at Bush, I am thinking of doing the same. Can anyone tell me how long I might have to stay in the prison? The Iraqi guy was recently got a 3 year prison term. Now, I need to find a video camera and a perfect opportunity……wish me luck. …………….

    By the way….it is only a wishful thinking….a country like Bhutan and a man like JT would given me a life sentence for such act. …….

    I am just so frustrated and everytime I see his face, I see greed….nothing else…no morals what so ever.

  19. Currently Bhutan has approximately 0.25 doctors per 1000 persons. The world average stands at about 1.30 doctors per 1000 persons. We are way below the world average and even with an ambitious plan to increase this ratio, it will be a very long time before we reach world average. You may call this scheme ‘bold and wrong’ but the reality is that we need doctors more than ever and more than any other professionals.

    You say that this scheme is unfair because our country faces severe shortages in other professional areas as well. While this is may be true, the extent of shortage is definitely not as severe as in the profession of health care. Talk to the young graduates and you will find that many professionals (engineers, lawyers, IT tec…) are without jobs because they are too many of them. For that matter, I hear that we even have excess pilots and first officers for our two Druk Air planes. These pilots and first officers are now flying only once or maximum twice a week. Also, you may have forgotten that many of these pilots who went to train privately were financially supported by the government. So if doctors are what we need right now, we have to do everything in power to get them. Health care directly affects every single person.

    The dearth of healthcare manpower is glaring in our face and we need to address this problem because the longer we wait, the more number of people are suffering.

    Also, attending medical school is expensive (more so than any other professional course). So if the government subsidizes, the burden will be reduced on parents. Perhaps, with this scheme in place, many more students will opt for medicine provided they have the academic qualifications. Of course, it is important and absolutely necessary that these students (who receive financial support from the government) sign a bond to serve the government for a reasonable number of years upon the completion of medical school. Finally, it is important to remember that this scheme is not long term, once our medical school is fully up and running, we can train out doctors right there.

    This scheme is bold and may appear unfair but it is put in place for the interest of our country and people.

  20. Therefore i guess no more grant after 2013 🙁

  21. Anonymous says

    Anonymous March 19, 2009 10:45

    Of course we need doctors but not at the cost of other deserving and merit based candidates. It seem that you are one of the potential beneficiary of the grant as posed. Please be rational on your view. We are not against the grant itself but to the methodology used to cater these grants. Its a nobel idea to have more doctors in the country.

  22. Anonymous says

    First the Title "A Bold Scheme"
    I liked the title"A BOLD" this say that "the ends are good although the means are not right". Now here the debate is, will we look at the ends or the means. I think the role of opposition is to make the means good to have the good ends, Am i right OL? Yes i agree the the gov. is worng in doing that way. I would like to know how will the oposition make the means right, as the ends seems good. i mean there should be a system to solve the problem of human resources. it now doctors, later it will scientist, plumbers… etc.. how will the gov solve the up coming problme. just granting the 300000 nu.. will it solve the next problme.or just withdrawing the grant will it solve it … BIG NO>>> the problme will come in differnt form./////// so Please.. make a system for the future and not try to win the battle during ur term…. I am happy the lobzang has pointed out that the oposition should have such forum. "Official".. that is system and not just one man show.. so Both the rulling and oppositon should create a system and not try to win the battle. i wish that if JYT and OL work together things will be very good. BOth are brillent and smart… so i hope that u will make a system and not just try to win the battle.

  23. Anonymous says

    ANd as for th PDP site… we would not like to have site that is not update. we want the opposition to keep us informed.

  24. Anonymous says

    It is simply a crazy decision of mentally unsound ministers. Why? it is simply because they want to increase the numbers of doctors? how can they increase? they should increase the slots of MBBS through scholarship..That is only right way of doing..The decision is baised because Lyonpo Thakurs daughter, Zanglas son and JYT’s nephews are all doing MBBS. and i think only those three students will fit in the criteria set my Irrational Zangla.

    DPT cannot make such a unexpected irrational and ilogical decisions. Its simply rediculous and nonsense. It is nuisance to the society and even farmers feel bad about that when i asked about that decision. They regret for electing DPT…a self centred party at last. There is saying…Me lep gi hing ku…It exactly applies to DPT..As many have said in KOL..DPT is now druk rangdhoen tsogpa. and its right the way they are carrying out…

    Jigme Thinley and co shouldnot contest in next election…we dont want you all..Better to have donkey than a old truck..waste of fuel mena..??

  25. Anonymous says

    Ask yourselves, would you be more desperate if you couldnt find a doctor or engineer in town? I can say for certain that I would want access to doctors above anything else anyday.

    The Nu. 300,000 financial support is a lot of money, but if it means that it will enable more students to opt for medicine, I think it is totally worth it. Think about it this way, now you can consider sending your son/daugther/neice/nephew to medical school at half the cost. You could potentially be a beneficiary of this scheme.

    My one concern is ensuring that these student return to Bhutan and repay the government through their services. Otherwise, there is no legal binding to make a private medical students practice medicine upon their return home. Recent trend shows that many doctors are leaving practice for other administrative related jobs.

    Personally, if this scheme is successful, I will be very happy.

  26. Did someone said that there is too many lawyers in Job market? wrong wrong…you right to the wrong point boy!! Bhutan has 90 plus lawyers at present and Bhutan need another 100 lawyers to curve the shortage.

    To make note of…RCSC recruited 26 General graduates for PGDNL to curve the shortage of lawyers…and this was another foolish and rediculous decision made by the government which Opposition leader should make note of. They did to curve the shortage of lawyers and heard they will be legal advisors to dzongda..What a foolish idea mosh… They take easy things…They will one day do same with teachers, doctors and engineers to curve the shortage. Watch out DPT. or DRT which people call them now…Hurrey druk rangdhen tsogpa..

  27. I have to deviate from your outlook on the scheme. I would say the decision by the government is “bold and right”. No decision is 100% correct but if benefit outweighs others, then the decision is right. Well, I have full confidence that before committing to such decision, the government must have worked out the payoffs of their decision.

    Secondly, I believe that such decision will encourage investment from private sectors. I am sure many more wealthy parents must have now given priority to medicines in making choices of courses for their children. Some must be even thinking of borrowing money from banks. I know it sounds biased towards others but if our wealthy people just keep on hoarding their money instead of investing then the dearth of doctors will remain for a long time. I see this decision very much beneficial for our country. With this decision our government shares cost with private individuals for the problem that we are facing right now in medical care system.

    I understand some people cry fairness that the private scholars can get to study medicine without merit basis or competition but we need to understand that meritorious get their share from the yearly government scholarships.

    And people complain about quality but we should not worry much about it. It depends on government to decide which medicine schools are A grade or D grade and accordingly decide on scholarship. For instance, don’t award scholarship to students of C or D grade schools.The reason is that students going to quality school will definitely go through high standard requirements so we will be assured of the quality anyway. So these students deserve the scholarship.

    Next worry is that they will not work in our country. This can be assured with strong contract signed with parents and insure government’s investment with collateral from parents. If parents provide collateral then it is a sign of commitment from parents too.

    As mentioned, no decision is correct but a decision to solve problem is better than decision not taken at all. Decision makers should not waste time in waiting long for the 100% correct decision. Judge by the weight of benefit for any decisions.

    Thank you.

  28. dear T yeshey,
    1.”no decision is 100% right”….why not? who says? there is a right and a wrong. we have to choose the right. especially in matters of national interest, there are no shades of gray.
    2. “I have full confidence that before committing to such decision, the government must have worked out the payoffs of their decision.”
    how are you confident? have you talked to the people behind this rule personally? have they justified their actions? how have they proved irrevocably that they are to be trusted blindly? is the government incorruptible? how can you be sure they have no vested interest?
    3.”I understand some people cry fairness that the private scholars can get to study medicine without merit basis or competition but we need to understand that meritorious get their share from the yearly government scholarships.”
    what about the people who missed the scholarships by just a few points. its a card castle. those who miss MBBS take agriculture and vetenary, those who miss take honours courses, those who miss go to sherubtshe or some other in country and in the end, those who miss everything go out to study. And they get a scholarship for being the last. sounds fair to you?
    4.”It depends on government to decide which medicine schools are A grade or D grade and accordingly decide on scholarship.” as long as you pay up, it doesnt matter how much marks you got…colleges take you in. the most stupidest people with money are known to have gone to harvard.
    5. “As mentioned, no decision is correct but a decision to solve problem is better than decision not taken at all.”
    wrong again. there are wrong decisions, and to take them would be wrong. for instance, you have an enemy and you want to kill that person. tjhat would be wrong. by deciding to kill that person, you make the wrong decision. it would be better to do nothing at all. and this is not such an irrelevant example. after all, where would you draw the line? what is wrong is wrong. we are a democracy. about time we helped the government take the right decisions, and by right, i mean 100% right.

  29. Anonymous says

    By the saying that there is no 100%right decision, I think what he/she means is that there is no single decision that will be welcome and accepted by all and I fully agree with that. No matter what the government does there will always be a few voices that disagree (some for the sake of disagreeing while others because they truly believe). Disagreeing is good because it signifies freedom and choice but the government cannot stop functioning because some people disagree.

    Many people who I have met and spoken with (including current doctors) seem to think that this is a constructive decision, positively moving towards the alleviation of doctor shortage. Of course there is no way to see if this scheme will be truly successful but certainly it is an important attempt.

  30. the criteria set for the new would be private medical students who ll be getting the grant from the govt seems ok for me..but i was wondering why wasnt the decision made a little earlier? if the decision was made post PM’s visit to sri lanka, the govt must ve been upto sth with the scheme when the selection interview was goin on in feb.this decision if made when the selection interview for govt scholarsip was held in feb 2009 could have had a great effect on the students who qualified,were eligable, or selected during that time with indirect effect on the students down the merit ranking list..some would have even withdrawn if they really wanna join medicine and know their parents can bare the rest expenditures on and over the govt grant..now i wondering if most of the students who could not get medicine and opted other course have a chance to compete for the grant ( if they like to do ) as most of them must ve already signed the bonding with their respsctive funding agency(ies).just my thots.

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