By now Lyonchhen Dr Lotay Tshering would have felt the pulse of those who are associated with the Gedu College of Business Studies or the government’s plan to relocate the college from Gedu to Mongar.
Prime Minister shared the government’s plan to “look into the possibilities” of consolidating college campuses and freeing up space at Gedu for more possibilities. The reaction was not what the government would have expected.
There is almost an outcry at the government’s idea.
If feedback counts in making decisions, there is plenty, although only a few are worth reading or paying attention. Some the Prime Minister will rule out as “andaaz,” an Urdu word, roughly translating to guessing or shooting in the dark, a phrase the PM started using recently.
But the issue is important. The college administration has written a long letter to the Royal University of Bhutan justifying why Gedu should not be touched and why the government should think twice on their plan, even if it is only looking into the possibility.
Following the flak the government is receiving after the news went viral; some in the government are regretting the PM’s decision to share it with media, even if it was just a plan.
The government need not feel bad about the backlash, that too in the social media, a wrong forum to look for constructive criticism or feedback. Even if it was not intended, the decision to share their plan was a good decision. It is the best consultation without having to invite people and pay TA/DA.
In some democracies, smart or cunning elected leaders deliberately leak information to gauge public reaction to a government’s policy or programme. Some even do that with sensitive issues like foreign policy. If the response is good they go ahead, if not, they deny all knowledge of it.
They blame or make the media the scapegoat.
If there were any positivity in the Gedu College episode, the government would have known what people, at least some, are feeling. Unfortunately, there is not much-reasoned discourse surrounding the much talked about issue.
The first question graduates of the college, faculty, parents and policymakers should ask is if the college is living up to the aspirations. Intention or well-established infrastructure alone is not enough to object to changes.
How has the only business college helped the country, the private sector, the economy and the graduates? Many Gedu graduates are finding it hard to land a job even when the focus is on having a robust economy driven by the private sector.
There are many questions. Should we relook at the curriculum of our business college? Should we look for opportunities where the college can link up with other colleges or institutions, for that matter, vocational centres to equip young graduates with the skills and knowledge that can make them independent of government jobs? Will having a vocational institute side by side to a business college add to values like learning from each other or employability of graduates?
This is the best time for discourse. Not to blame each other.
Some decisions will not go well with a certain group. Decision makers should make bold decisions in the interest of the people, government and the country.
We cannot make decisions based on andaz!