During my school days, the kind of respect we had for our teachers never changed even when they lashed us mercilessly. We did not have value-education classes but we knew our boundaries well. We have been culturally groomed to believe that teachers are like our parents and that we must respect them as much as we respect our parents. We have been convinced that we would earn respect if we know how to show respect to our elders and treat them with love and dignity. But sadly, this trend seems to be taking a different turn today. Probably due to the excessive exposure to western cultures through social and mainstream media outlets that have emerged with the technological revolution of the modern era, the youth of Bhutan appear to be gradually drifting away from the unique social and cultural values of our country that define us as Bhutanese. This rapid decline of values among the Bhutanese youth has triggered important discussions in the government agencies in the recent times. Upon the Royal Command of His Majesty the King, the Ministry of Education has already started working with the Royal Education Council (REC) to explore effective ways of inculcating our own national values into the young generation. The first draft of the curriculum framework for teaching values developed by REC was presented during the special meeting convened on 19th June 2017.
In the BCSE and BHSEC results for the academic year 2016 declared recently, the Bhutanese students who had appeared for the exams have seen the harvest of their year-long hard work and struggle. But as usual, not everybody is lucky. While those who have qualified for higher studies are busy celebrating their achievements with their families and friends, others are going through a terrible time. Many anxious parents are seen rushing for admission in the private schools or exploring other viable options for their children. It is a crucial turning point for the students and everybody is deeply concerned. But I don’t believe that the failure of the present should ruin your aspirations for the future. You may not be good in academic studies, but you may be excellent at something else. Just turn around, focus on what you believe you are good at and start working on it. Someday, you will have the future as promising as that of anybody else. Academic excellence is not the only secret of success. Many successful people in the world do not have even a degree. So just keep your head high and always stay positive. Sitting down and crying over the spilled milk won’t get you anywhere. It would only destroy your dreams.
I was not happy when Shakespearean plays were removed from Bhutanese education curriculum. As a student of English literature, I had loved his works so much because they had so much to offer in terms of human values, wisdom and extraordinary ideas through the experiences, behaviours and actions of the characters. In 2005 while appearing for the Civil Service Common Examinations, I was asked during the viva interview what was my reaction to the decision of the Ministry of Education to exclude Shakespearean plays from Bhutanese curriculum. My response was similar to what His Majesty the King had expressed during his interaction with the Royal Education Council yesterday. I told them that Shakespearean works contain great philosophies and principles of life which are still very much relevant and applicable, but sadly, the present generation is being deprived of this privilege. I insisted that although people might find his language difficult, there are a lot of practical lessons we can learn from each of his plays. He was a genius and a great self-taught philosopher who has influenced millions of people across the globe over the years. I argued that at least a few of his most notable works should be taught in our schools if we want our children to understand the real essence of English literature. But I was challenged by a panel-member who justified that the decision to remove Shakespeare from the school curriculum was to include a more variety of other forms of literature. At the end, I had to agree.