Tandigang locals had a problem. The children in the village were too young to be in a central (boarding) school. The parents requested for an extended classroom. The timing was perfect. The Prime Minister was in their village or gewog campaigning for votes. They made the most of it.
The village got an “extended classroom” or ECR to the relief of the parents and the children. The classroom was not the best, but operating from a room in a private lhakhang served the purpose.
Unfortunately, it will have to close down.
With only 12 students, the ECR has not met the requirement. To establish an ECR, there has to be a minimum of 20 students. The local leader, gup, was not involved or informed of the development in his gewog.
Children of ECR will grow up learning a lot of lessons. One of which, through the tales, will be lessons on how haste makes waste. The children will not realise the meaning of the proverb now. They are too young, but if the extended classroom that was opened four months ago is closed, at least the parents would know the repercussion or what the proverb really means.
Whether the ECR would close or continue operating is not known. What we can deduce is that decisions, albeit the reasoning or intention could be questioned, especially when there are policies, rules and regulations governing the decisions.
At stake is the education opportunities of a dozen young children. Closing it because it was not in the education plan is not a solution.
That the decision was made during a campaign period could draw flak of political parties. Left to the locals, it was a shrewd move when the ruling government was campaigning for votes in a place that is believed to be heavily inclined towards the Opposition Party.
The take away, for the rest, is that decisions made in haste could be questioned, if not gone into waste. Although our development activities are planned, budgeted and approved by the Gross National Happiness Commission, the lead agency for planning, any ad-hoc decision is not appreciated, no matter how well-intended it is. When planned activities are altered, notwithstanding the intentions, it comes under the scanner.
As a developing country, providing basic infrastructure is still seen as an achievement. The success of elected governments are measured on how many kilometres of roads, bridges, hospitals, ECCDs and many other basic requirements are provided. But quite often the results are not appreciated.
Politicians in the past were accused of hastening inaugurations of infrastructures or changing them to suit their convenience to woo the voters. Whether it is starting an ECCD without instructors, downgrading a hospital to meet the deadline or inaugurating a road before it becomes pliable, not many understand the underlying intentions. As voters become more aware or smart, not all decisions political governments take will achieve the intended targets.