Friday, August 12, 2016

The illness of education in Bhutan begins with ill prepared text books.

Please read Lyonpo Sonam Kinga's work on correcting the social studies text book for class V. 

His  Excellecy Chairman of National Council has made a lasting impactful contribution towards providing the right education to our children. Any others doing the same work cannot have the same weight and positive impact because Bhutanese Agencies have enormous ego. But here that shield of  ego has to come down. Moreover the Education Council has just got a new mandate after the recent merger of that particular curriculum Division/ department with a long  name based in Paro with it.

I think both Lyonpo Thakur and present new Secretary of Education Karma Yeshi were involved at different times with the curriculum division. I am not sure of Lyonpo's role but Secretary Karma Yeshi was heading that curriculum Division. However, if Lyonpo Thakur had any say in the drafting of text books, even if he was drunk or in any other stupor His Excellency just cannot make grammatical mistakes. Lyonpo is the prefect of english language as far as Bhutan is concerned. And Secretary Karma Yeshi should be far more well informed and responsible and so  cannot be so unqualified to have  absorbed so many factual errors if he had taken some practical interests in the drafting of the text books. Otherwise why is he now heading Education as Secretary ? So what was wrong may be in the organisational structure and line of distribution of tasks in the preparation and production of school text books. 

Now among the comments made on Lyonpo Sonam Kinga's commentary,  a person has said that  we must begin by fixing accountability. That to me  is not constructive contribution. Dedicated Bhutanese should not waste time in penalising past. We move forward like Lyonpo Sonam Kinga did.  We immediately correct the text books. I am relieved that Education Council stands ready to begin the task of making proper and correct text books according to the impression that Lyonpo Sonam Kinga got.

My request to Education Council please, please:

a) Do not begin by setting up a committee.

b) Make adequate payment for necessary correction and even improvement of the text books. Please realise competent authors have no time to retype the text books. They need to hire assistant. Moreover one has to pay for their knowledge and time. Leave it to them to consult or make cross reference but provide the finance. Their social contribution lies in making themselves available to execute the task, somehow finding the needed time and required effort. 

So do not be stingy with purse in producing good text books. Please realise why His Majesty the Third King had Kangjur and Tenjur hand written in gold letters. The Teaching are so valuable! So must our school text books be as valuable as gold.  Do not print in gold letters but have the information in the school text books worth gold in the weight of the text books. Why build school physical structures at great cost if students are given fictitious and worse wrong lessons? Good text books are worth substantial investment.

Give one text book to each different qualified individuals with urgent request to work upon it immediately. Rope in Lyonpo Thakur, Lyonpo Sonam Kinga, few Sherubtse professors and other sound academic people. The new improved  text books should be there in schools in the month of February, 2017.

Bhutan has to have a very good pool of such qualified people among Bhutanese citizens to carry out this task immediately and on time. And it has to be Bhutanese correcting the text books especially history,  social studies , geography ( anything related to Bhutan proper ). Please get Kuensel Printing Press to print and bind the text books. Do not waste good product in cheap prints and binding. Negotiate bulk rate with Kuensel but insist for quality as Kuensel's social responsibility to Eduction and do not expect subsidy in cost because budget wise Kuensel is a commercial enterprise.   

c) Meanwhile request school teachers to make all out efforts to teach the right stuff and not blindly follow the incorrect text books as they have been dictated to do in the past. Teachers have incredible enthusiasm and good will if only you recognise their contributions  and goodwill for the overall development of their students. This request must be humbly and sincerely made  by the Education Minister and the Secretary of Education because school administration is not the mandate of Education Council.

d) Set up a two person cell to get feed backs from teachers who teach the subjects on errors in the text books. Collect these crucial  information  and pass them on to the roped in qualified persons entrusted to correct the text books. It will speed up correction progress and also identify all needed corrections. And do not forget to pay  back in monetary form for the correct feed back. Electronic messages cost money and schools do not have adequate Internet connection. Individual teachers have to arrange their own Internet access. Advisable if every school Vice principal for academic collects the feed back from subject teachers and after proper consultation and verification among themselves,  pass on the information to the Education Cell. This way both communication cost and too many mail confusion can be avoided. Also this  way , every feed back to the Cell would be filtered and authenticated for inclusion in the new text book.