What challenge, really?

Education is in the limelight yet again. Not for any encouraging reason, however.

Schools in Thimphu are bursting at the seams. Some schools in the capital are forced to convert laboratories into classrooms because of excessive admission pressure. At the same time, schools in rural pockets of the country are experiencing drastic enrolment drop.

This is an interesting development that has been happening for a while now. It is also a development that is disturbing. Media tried their best to highlight the problem and to launch a serious national debate.

If reiteration is necessary, here it is: why are schools in Thimphu facing increasing admission pressure year after year when opposite is happening in schools in the rural parts of the country?

One 50-year-old school in Thimphu is facing such admission pressure that it is forced to find an alternative to cope. The school is using officers’ old mess of the Royal Bhutan Army as classrooms for 12 sections of the school.

Decentralisation is an idea that has done us much good. We are where we are today because we dared to launch an idea into practical use.  Effective service systems have reached the lowest level of our communities.

Alas, with education and schools, we did not meet with the same success. Where did we fail, and how?

With all the goodness of decentralisation policy, we still seem to be pursueing a development path that is sadly very centralised. It’s a national myopia that gives rise to all the problems of shortages and repercussions myriad.

Why, for example, can we not have some of our ministries spread out in different dzongkhags? That happening will actually help create employment and economic opportunities outside Thimphu, which in turn will ease admission pressure in the schools in the capital.

Why must every important office be in Thimphu? That is the question.

Big questions come from small problems. Small problems become way too big if we fail to address them at the right time.

Good governance is about empowering the citizens with productive environment to learn so that the process of building our nation prospers to benefit all, not just a few for all their greed and vanity.

The success of education lies in our ability to give our heart and soul for its development. One ragged section of students under a collapsing shanty will cost us dear.

Time will come, and very soon it will, if we give no heed to the changing tides. Why are things the way they are? Why are some of our schools seeing drop in enrolment when others are facing growth beyond their capacity?

Future generations will hold us responsible for what space we gave them to grow.

4 replies
  1. logical
    logical says:

    Splitting the central offices that fit being at proximity to rest of the sister organisations at central location (the CAPITAL) causes untold inconveniences to benefactors of the services the organisations provide to read as:
    Splitting the central offices that fit being at proximity to rest of the sister organisations at central location (the CAPITAL) causes untold inconveniences to beneficiaries of the services the organisations provide.
    The mis-conveyance caused by the error is regretted.

  2. logical
    logical says:

    Joker’s agreement to pointless contention against development of nation’s capital is like that of Maoists in Nepal that fought against own state till they brought it down, accusing it of more development in comparison to the far flung rural expanses.

    I only wonder why people allow thoughts outside their heads! Development and capital are totally different issues meriting treatment with own right. The contentions raised against development of nations’s capital do not lack revealing intentions of tearing it down! It is like a ragged socialist attending marriage party and accusing the bride and groom of causing social inequality, being gorgeously robed before the ragged attendee! I think such person should not have part in the social function…

    Ministries and departments do not fit in Gewogs or Dzongkhags as DEVELOPMENT ORGANISATIONS. They do not contribute to hardware part of development being consumer body pay rolled by tax payers’ money. Splitting the central offices that fit being at proximity to rest of the sister organisations at central location (the CAPITAL) causes untold inconveniences to benefactors of the services the organisations provide.

    Persons expressing or agreeing to ideas in that line reveal weakness in mental functioning. Such ideas invite spites and ignominy and should be shunned…

  3. joker
    joker says:

    Not only in the Education ministry, similar problems are prevalent in all forms due to rapid urban migration. As far as I’m concerned, the only way to reduce this unwanted trend is by relocating many of the government and non-government offices which are unnecessarily crowded in the capital. Why is it not possible or why are the authorities not interested in relocating the offices away from Thimphu? We always look at the problem, not at the cause.

  4. irfan
    irfan says:

    In making room for growth in the education industry for the well intended social cause, they have been a decentralised army of true driving force. The very basic recognition of formal education in a centralised certificate form forces them to cross as many as a dozen decentralised hurdles and yet, they are only ready to enter college. They are the centralised consumer of the so called knowledge economy and we are not making it easy for them to produce any new knowledge.

    They are the students in all forms and uniforms consuming whatever education are thrown at them. And today, some of these very unfortunate young students are forced to sit in a laboratory which has been turned into a makeshift classroom. It’s unfortunate also because that’s the wrong laboratory they have been forced into. It’s not a usual classroom which used to be a learning laboratory where knowledge used to be cultivated and collectively derived. Education is no more a learning experiment; it has turned into a text book library where knowledge gets divided to serve different consumers for their own career needs. Every library is a prized asset which is well beyond any partial disposal unless replaced by newly discovered education, but not necessarily newly invented knowledge. That part of the educational laboratory has been well centralised.

    So where it has gone wrong if it has ever gone wrong! The shortage of classrooms at schools in our cities can be due to the obvious rural-urban migration. But why we need these classrooms? Are they only rooms with desks and benches where students perform their dedicated duties days after days and years after years? How effective is our system of student to teacher conversion within that very classroom? Our education should enable us to teach ourselves the right lessons. But probably it’s centralised education through decentralised learning efforts of an individual. We don’t need classrooms only to divide accumulated knowledge, but also to create scope for new inventions.

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