Teaching – the call of the nation

The process of education aims at ‘drawing out’ the best in a student, raising their physical, moral, social and intellectual capacities to the highest level possible. What it seeks to achieve therefore, is a maximisation of the adolescent’s potential as a future member of his or her community. This theory of education rests upon two assumptions: the first is that in every individual there is an inherent potential which admits of enhancement; the second is that there exists a social frame into which that potential must be integrated.

Regarding the social frame into which the person returns to, if we foresee change, shouldn’t we be preparing students to meet and accept that change? This question becomes crucial in a rapidly changing world driven by unprecedented technological developments. The relevance of the education that we provide to our youth must be gauged against the requirements and demands of the world that they have to live in. Technological knowledge and skills are going to be as crucial as the development of values and normative faculties: the ability to discriminate, compare and evaluate. Critical analysis, continuous learning, innovative thinking, intelligent cooperation, rational consent and problem-solving skills must replace rote learning, passive acquiescence, enforced obedience. In addition, there needs to be a shift in focus from enrolment to quality in our education system.

His Majesty the King, in His farsightedness and wisdom, has granted us the Royal Kasho on Education Reform, which highlights critical interventions to be made in the education system of the country. The Royal Kasho is timely and all citizens must be fully involved in the transformation process, for it sets the future path of the country.

That the development of our country will acquire new momentum when the reforms are instituted and accomplished will be attested by many of us especially the younger members. The transition will challenge all, who are involved in the process.

Of the politicians, the bureaucrats, it demands complete dedication to the highest ideals of patriotism; the courage and clarity of vision that formulate goals in terms of concrete realities and acceptance the cost of attaining them.

From teachers it demands a sense of vocation, a humility in relation to their high calling and a willingness to set the future of their country above all personal considerations. More than ever, we need a cadre of teachers who see themselves as change makers and who are so motivated to instill in our young members the enthusiasm to learn and keep learning. To instill the pride of identification with the community and pride in one’s ability to contribute to the common good, which are the results of a true education, is of immense importance. Alongside technological progress, Bhutan needs this pride of identity so that its citizens can stand tall and proud.

We are accustomed to thinking of the shaping of steel or concrete as skilled activities and society regards those engaged in them accordingly. But the moulding of the minds of the young, the implanting of principles of social and moral obligation, the shaping of future citizens, are often assumed to be tasks with lesser importance and are rarely regarded highly.

To be a good teacher, one requires courage, confidence, strength of character, commitment, dedication and a lot of sacrifice. A teacher must reconcile himself/herself to a future without high status, fancy cars, big houses and frequent overseas trips. We must regard our work as its own highest reward and feel that what we do is something so noble that the privilege of doing it is gratification enough.

I had the good fortune to be a teacher for most of my life and can, in all humility, say that it has given me immense inner satisfaction, fulfillment and a sense of purpose in life. The joy that one feels when you see your students doing well in life and contributing to the process of nation-building is a feeling beyond description.

I pray that bright and passionate young people, feeling this call, will take up the challenge and join the teaching force. The country needs YOU! At the same time, I call upon my fellow teachers to embrace the new realities, unlearn and relearn to be able to give your best. I would also like to call upon individuals from the Civil Service, industry and other organisations to consider sharing your knowledge and experience with the students, so that you can enrich their learning and pass on your expertise to them.

Teaching is indeed noble; the Buddha is revered as ‘ The Toenpa’ for he taught to benefit all beings.

 

 

Nidup Dorji

Royal University of 

Bhutan

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