1. Seeking Saturday to be school holiday.
Much before democracy came about I had broached the proposal for Saturday to be free for Primary schools. It was during a workshop of education stakeholders. His Excellency Lyonpo Sangay Ngedup was the Minister for Health and Education. Probably he felt it was a dicey proposal for him to consider at that time.
Now all Schools have breaks not just Primary schools on Saturday.
2. Lowering PP age to 5 years.
I had been an advocate for the 5 years children admission to PP since pre-democracy days. Fortunately the old rules were implemented loosely. If Government schools refused admission, there were private schools. Then in 2019, the third democratic government came down hard even on private schools. The rule did not affect me personally. However, I strongly felt that kids of today are so developed that to leave them out of education system even at the age of 5 years was a social crime of irresponsibility. But it seemed near impossible to get the Government to see it my way.
Then a miracle happened. His Majesty the King announced " GyalSuung" after class xii when most youths would be 18 years old. That was the beam of light that pierced the darkness of the Education PP Policy. The quick thinking Prime Minister instantly responded in the most positive and reverential manner. Despite his government's strong push to implement the old policy, His Excellency braved all hesitations and announced that PP admission would be open for 5 years kids so that in the years to come, all youths leaving High School will be at the ripe age of 18 years to undergo GyalSuung. I think this was an energency operation that transformed the life of Bhutanese children to greater height and goal. Probably the most life sparkling operation the Surgeon Prime Minister did both within and outside the operation threatre.
I wonder if Lyonpo Thakur can recall my request to him on lowering PP age to 5 years. It was on the auspicious day celebrating 100 Sherig years at Gongzim Ugyen Dorji Higher Secondary School at Haa in 2012. I had gone to pay a common man respect to our forefathers of education by simply attending the event as a spectator. Her Royal Highness Princess Kezang W. Wangchuck the youngest royal sister of the 4th King and great grand daughter of Gongzim Ugyen Dorji was the Chief Guest. There was even a royal message from the Grand Queen HM Kesang C. Wangchuck blessing the occassion. And I somehow got a lucky moment to submit my views to the Education Minister Lyonpo Thakur. Actually I felt the 1st democratic government should have lowered PP age to 5 years after the Constitution was adopted and voting age was set at 18 years. Maybe that was the reason why the policy implementation was relaxed though not changed.
3. Doing away with Small is Beautiful Family Policy.
I dreaded the family planning push and small family policy of the Royal Government. I was perplexed why there was such a royal directed push to reduce Bhutanese number in the world. I always advocated for population growth because Drukpa race should not disappear.
Then towards mid term of 2nd democratic Government, a brave admission was made about " no growth " in population number. Today it has been confirmed that Bhutanese population growth is Negative as is our carbon emmission. Our present national population maybe less than 0.6 million though officially it is around 635,000. There maybe around 100,000 foreigners which increases the number of people residing in Bhutan to about 735, 000.
Finally Bhutanese leadership may be prepared to design policies to save the Bhutanese race and encourage population growth. A huge relief.
4. The dreams still in dream land.
a) The one unrealised dream is Bhutan taking a proactive role in our foreign policy. A hope I had even submitted to HM the Third King in 1970 when I was then a High School student. I guess someday like a good seed thrown in the wilderness, that dream too will be visualised in a very substantive manner. Presently the nation operates under the armpit of India. But I plough on promoting the dream.
b. The other dream is that we Bhutanese make genuine sacrifice for maintaining our identity as a sovereign nation, celebrate our success, correct our failures and even take self pride to organise our own National Day celebration. Why make a mockery of our national aspiration and ourselves as masses or as individuals by Indianizing our Root Culture Agency ( RAPA ) and Bhutan National Day in 2019? Or in 2008 shivering in frightful frustration when cooking gas quota was withheld. Be Bhutanese whether able or not because our independent entity is crucial to preseving sovereignty.
c. The ultimate dream is that both common man on the street and leaders holding the rein of governance endeavour to transform the one nation one people under one King from glib words and loud slogans to actual deeds of closing differences between regions and races. There is much to be desired in this national unity approach.
May Palden Drukpa Deities hold firm and bless our national path.