Committed vision

“My duty is to worry every single day about our people and country. And to voice these worries frankly so that we do not get carried away, get caught unawares, or become complacent” commanded His Majesty the King to the teacher graduates during their convocation on 17th February (read full text). His Majesty then articulated his concerns about our education system with the clarity, earnestness and sense of urgency that comes from “worrying every single day”.

Our education system has recently come under increasing fire. Yet seemingly little is being done. So His Majesty’s counsel is timely. No doubt, the government will take it seriously. What follows are experts from His Majesty’s address …

Does our education system reflect our changing opportunities and challenges? Contemplate this question.

Our hopes and aspirations as a nation must be reflected in what is taught to our future generations in the classroom.

We must ensure that … young little hands grow to become strong and worthy of carrying our nation to greater heights.

It is the duty of parents, policy makers and the government to put the right tools in their hands – the right books, the right curriculum, the right direction.

We must first ask ourselves … what is the Vision for Bhutan? Then we must build an education system that nurtures people with the right skills, knowledge and training to fulfill this Vision. The sooner we realize this, the better.

Our nation’s vision can only be fulfilled if the scope of our dreams and aspirations are matched by the reality of our commitment to nurturing our future citizens.

If our Vision for the nation is not contained in the pages of the books that our young children hold, in the words of our teachers … and in the education policies of our governments, then let it be said – we have no Vision.

While we pile dream upon dream like floors on a skyscraper, the foundation needs to be strengthened.

Mathematics is one of our main weaknesses. We have similar weaknesses in Science and amazingly, even English.

A nation’s future will mirror the quality of her youth – a nation cannot fool herself into thinking of a bright future when she has not invested wisely in her children.

It is not enough to provide free education – we must provide education of such quality that it will guarantee a distinguished place for our youth anywhere in the world.

Do not … let the light of education ever go out.

 

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  1. Education means “equality and justice”. It also means, being “considerate and humane”. It also means “respecting the views and not supressing the minority”.

    Basically, it is as someone defined “Education is what is left, after you have forgotten what you have memorised”

    We need to have more educated people rather than more doctors, engineers, lawyers and teachers!! Only then we can say, we have achieved our goal.

    I hope to live the day when I can feel, Bhutanese people are indeed educated!!

  2. In my opinion …

    Our answer is not in the changing of the purpose of education alone (with the changing times) but also in the organizational values we adopt, processes that take place within the system, and most importantly in ownership and empowerment. This has to be backed by political ‘will’, ‘supportive’ policies and ‘enabling’ environment. In a democratic setting, it makes perfect sense to give autonomy to schools and districts. Our biggest opportunity is that we have a decentralized system of over 20 years old. We could make this system more democratic, can’t we?

    So, the way forward, in my opinion, is really in the ‘radical systemic change’ through ‘collaborative efforts’ on the basis of ‘multi-stakeholder consultations’ towards a ‘collectively designed vision’. We have a balance to strike between/among ‘economic sense’ (by which we might like to close down all small community schools because it is not cost effective), ‘educational significance’ (one teacher per subject for every 20 to 25 students; adequately stocked resources; quality facilities) and ‘basic social ethos’ (education of ‘little’ children to be shared between teachers and parents, therefore boarding for little children out of the question).

    Our thinking and deliberations mostly centre around the ‘physical’ aspects but it is really the ‘attitude/values/disposition’ that needs much more mending, if not changing. If only we could be ‘open minded’, many of the problems would not even emerge in the first place. But, we tend to waste our energy and intelligence in ‘protecting ourselves’ rather than ‘developing the system’. We are not even courageous enough to face up to the fact that we have problems and we need to do something about it. We prefer to ‘defend’ or ‘cover up’, supposedly ‘saving face’ until that same concealed face is uncovered by the media.

    This is our sad state of affairs, in my opinion. Until we change the system, our beautiful visions will exist on paper but never really come alive and be a living dream. So long as there are powerful and sustainable sources of energy and the right conductors, the light of education will surely remain alit.

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