The good news is that the world’s largest sporting event is only a few weeks away. The world is zooming in on the soccer fields of Qatar. Bhutanese youth, some of whom know the names of every player in many of the teams and have a strong attachment to their heroes, will be glued to the television between November 20 to December 18.
The bad news is that it is also going to be examination time for Bhutanese students. The final and board examinations are scheduled. The coming few weeks will be even more critical, being the best time to prepare for the exams. So it is a painful clash that requires painful decisions.
As far as television viewing goes, soccer is one programme that we, as parents and as a society, do not complain about. It is a healthy competition that will inspire many of our youngsters. It is a good geography lesson. Considering the long hours that many of our people are spending watching the football leagues around the world, this is one tournament that we would encourage people to watch.
The advent of television had the most positive impact on the development of sports in the country – particularly football. We saw an immediate professional improvement in the field. Television is also blamed for bringing in many unwanted influences on our youngsters and the culture.
But it is, again, a question of priorities. Being very much a part of the globalised world we are quite involved in an event of this magnitude but it does not mean that we sacrifice our own priorities. While we might adjust some of our normal work schedules, we certainly do not sacrifice important priorities even to football.
Especially, not school board examinations.
It is time for us to respond as a thoughtful society. After setting the priority, which is currently exam preparations, we can help make some football available to our students by adjusting their study schedules around some matches. But no late-night football even on weekends because that takes its a toll on our children. As parents and teachers, we have no choice but to restrain our own work schedules to set the right examples.
Ultimately, the situation is not that we do badly in our examinations or that we miss deadlines at work because it is World Cup month but that we miss some of the World Cup matches because it is exam time.
We need to set priorities for our goals.