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National Day comes home: The 113th National Day was unique in many ways. The celebration was by far the most significant tone-setter in the nation’s recent history.

Tshering Palden 

Coinciding with the National Day celebrations yesterday, His Majesty The King granted kashos to the Royal Civil Service Commission and the Ministry of Education to immediately begin major systemic reforms.

 

Fundamental reforms to civil service

His Majesty said that the experience in dealing with the pandemic over the year has given new insights and taught many lessons. Bhutanese must not forego such a valuable opportunity. That as Bhutanese look ahead, clear objectives for our future must be set. More importantly, to acknowledge the challenges and difficulties the nation face.

His Majesty said that Bhutanese must also need to realise that the global situation is vibrant and will rapidly transform beyond recognition within a decade. Countries that do not understand this and fail to prepare in a commensurate manner will invariably be left behind.

His Majesty cautioned that there is every possibility that Bhutan would be left behind if it does not prepare well.

Bhutan should not remain only as a developing country without progressing to the ranks of developed nations. This will make the country continuously dependent on foreign aid and concessional loans, and hence, expose it to greater vulnerabilities.

While the civil service is one of the most important institutions of the country it has several problems, His Majesty said.

The present structure is not suited for future challenges and responsibilities. On the other hand, it is an enduring institution entrusted with the task of ensuring continuity and stability to meet the national goals and aspirations.

The clear message to the civil servants was that Bhutanese must know when to reform the institutions to keep abreast with the changing times.

His Majesty reminded the people that the Royal kasho is not being granted for the civil service alone or to enhance the privileges of the civil servants.  It was being granted to reform the civil service for the benefit of the nation and the people and to meet the collective aspirations.

 

On education reforms

His Majesty said that Bhutanese do not have to look further than our youth today to foresee the future that lies ahead. The basic task of preparing for future begins in the classrooms and schools.

For years the country’s focused has been mainly on increasing the number of schools, teachers and students at the expense of the standard of education. His Majesty pointed out that immediate steps must be taken to address this shortcoming.

His Majesty said that we should not be satisfied by comparing the present achievements with the past or at being able to match other countries. If Bhutan is to have a progressive and prosperous future, Bhutanese need to become more capable and exceed the standards of other countries given the limitations of size, population and resources.

Although a small country, His Majesty said that Bhutanese were a unique nation endowed with many strengths and opportunities. However, the country also remains vulnerable to external shocks arising from natural disasters, pandemics, economic downturns and regional conflicts.

The country risks being left behind, His Majesty said, if it does not prepare adequately for a future which is defined by complex and constant change, underpinned by technological innovations and advancements.

His Majesty issued a Kasho to reform the education system for the sake of the youth, people, the future generations and the nation.

 

On the challenges of the pandemic

His Majesty The King commended the people across the nation for having risen to the occasion and shouldered their responsibilities in an exemplary manner.

His Majesty expressed appreciation for the selflessness and dedication shown by the volunteers and, in equal measure, the immense generosity of Bhutanese people from all walks of life who came forward to offer whatever support they could.

His Majesty also expressed concerns that despite Bhutan’s success so far, the threat of the pandemic remains imminent as ever.

Warning against complacency, His Majesty commanded that people collectively overcome the threat.

Of especial concern is the waning of public resilience and the unravelling of the foundations of our nation’s economy as a consequence of the pandemic.

His Majesty said that the duration and cost of recovery from such a situation would be immense and that to avert such a situation, extending robust support to the people and the private sector by providing them with necessary Kidu was needed.

The huge expenses incurred now should not dissuade the efforts as they can be recouped later, His Majesty said.

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