Thursday, February 6, 2014

Teacher huh!

Placement Day 1: Teacher Deployment
On the chilly morning of February 3, 2014, teacher and councilor graduates (225) holding Postgraduate Diploma in Education and Postgraduate Diploma in Guidance and Counciling, respectively, from two College of Education (Samtse and Paro) gathered in Motithang HSS auditorium for our job placement. Everyone looked happy and hopeful for we were going to be employed full time but to our dismay it existed momentarily. 

'Lucky dip' to deploy better teachers in remote places
Ministry's strategy of deploying better teachers in remote places was intervened by incorporating 'lucky dip' system. But was it really effective or even valid? This gloomy system struck to me with utmost concern because individuals upon drawing a 'lucky dip' were sent outside to name and sign on it. However, the scene depicted outside was an outrage. Individuals rushed hither and thither with mouthful of hope that if someone would exchange with their Dzongkhags (received via lucky dip). Few displayed their dissatisfaction/disappointment through tears - could this be a good start for one's career? I stood amidst all such hue and cry pondering 'was ministry this lame in coming up with such so-called lucky dip strategy to fight off the issue associated with deployment of better teachers in remote places? And owing to the lack of experience, how did they determine who is a better teacher amongst all beginners?' My mind dwelled with inquisition but to no avail. All concerned personnel from the ministry witnessed the outrage as well. God knows what flushed through their minds.

Possible Alternative Remedy to 'lucky dip'
Attractions like rendering incentives (say, additional 5% of basic wage), initial traveling and settlement allowances (it takes 3 days to reach from Thimphu to Eastern Dzongkhags viz. Tashigang, Tashiyangtse, and Pemagatshel) would most likely draw attentions of all new/old/better teachers and consequently generate a stiff competition. Now this would definitely enhance the quality of education in remote schools without having to compromise on any job satisfaction or hard work one has put into accomplishing a top academic result. If the ministry is to really enhance the education quality of remote schools by deploying better teachers, then teachers with teaching experiences should have been their priority - NOT the newly appointed teachers.

Placement Day 2: Oath Taking Ceremony
The following day, on February 4, 2014, it was oath taking ceremony day. Hon'ble Secretary, Ms. Sangay Zam, of Ministry of Education, who also conferred placement orders to all new teachers and councilors, chaired the ceremony. Then we dismissed for tea break only to find out that there was no tea for any. Returning from the tea-less tea break, an open discussion pertaining to any issue was commenced. But the discussion could not penetrate beyond one topic - 'married couples requiring placement in same Dzongkhag and school'. Since it kept prolonging, other issues could not be deliberated/discussed.

At one point we were asked if the 'lucky dip' system was satisfying. To which, more than 50% voted 'NO' by not showing any hand. At that right moment I so wished if they rendered an opportunity for some of us to voice out our opinions and suggestions. But they had something different in their agenda and we sat there very unsatisfied. 

Now, the Breaking News for media!
We have the tendency of naturally waiting to hear breaking news from medias. But the situation seems to have reversed today. I got breaking news for medias.

My eyes and ears were wide open and excited to see and hear medias cramming in. I thought this would be an opportune time for us to feel proud and an avenue to empower and attract more talented graduates into teaching career. But as the second day of placement neared its end, I knew the media, and for the same reason the nation as well, were least bothered or didn't even know about this big day for new teachers. I felt it was like a local event, which was known to only the participants. Wait a second! I take that back. Even local events get broadcasted and printed in news channels. All in all, the so-called "noble profession" goes unnoticed by medias - so much to become teacher and receive the least attention... The breaking news in fact!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Let's Wake Up!

My first impression of the home, after studying abroad, was overwhelming with many high and large buildings that were under construction (or constructed), roads widened (or widening) with various branded cars plying everyday, varying sophisticated electronic devices displayed on the windows and the walls of electronic shops, kids and parents communicating in fluent English, improvised dance moves depicting the creativity of youths by merging of Western (hip-hop/break dance) and Bhutanese culture that were telecasted via local TV cable operator channels, and many other stimulating things that really caught my attention by surprise. But then, upon a close scrutiny there was one thing that did not seem to receive much attention - the TIME! Everyone was/is relaxed and still clinging onto so called 'Bhutan Stretchable Time'. If an appointment was agreed at 9 A.M. then it's understood (and implied) that meeting half an hour late is not going to cause any harm or loss to either party. Lots of things are planned and executed in the very last panicking minutes. This was an utter dismay for it should have received the most attention of all. Unlike developed nations, time is 'no money' here. Time seem to flicker at the whim and finger tips of Bhutanese. 

Soon, in about a month's time from today, schools would be reopening for new academic session. We, the new teacher graduates with Post Graduate Diploma in Education'13 from College of Education (Samtse and Paro), have no clue about our teaching whereabouts (placement) for we are still anxiously waiting to hear from Ministry of Education (MoE). On the contrary, the MoE does not seem to feel the pinch and remain silent. 

At this juncture, I feel it's about crucial time MoE, at the least, explains why the delay and announces the availability of Dzongkhags (Districts). This would render ample time for us -- the new teachers -- to think, discuss, and finalize with the Dzongkhags of our preferences from what's available. Although  the official choice would be merely based on our academic ranking, at least there would be a plan in hand to compromise and adjust amongst ourselves. But the process doesn't cease here. It then has to route via District Education Officer (DEO) for the final deployment of new teachers into schools under their respective Dzongkhags. Rumors have it that final deployment is seldom transparent and biased. However, I choose not to make further remark on such hearsay.

We, the Bhutanese, are known for doing best at the last minute. But are we going to continue clinging onto this 'unwise' habit? Is it always assured that the best outcome would be garnered? To catch up and try walking at par with the fast changing world, I feel it is of dire importance that last minute rush habit be discarded and early planning and information be embraced. Then, only then, the so called 'good governance' will prevail and seen by all individuals.

Well, this is a concerned citizen and 'anxious' new teacher crying from the wounds of neglected time value. Let's plan and avoid last minute havoc. It's about time we stand tall on our toes. It's about time we blow off those old and worn out habits from our shoulders. It's about time we open our eyes and wake up! 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Getting Back On Horse

I can't believe time slipped so swiftly that the last time I made a post was more than a year ago. Well, judging from the number of posts I have made in past years, I won't hesitate to admit that I wasn't an ideal blogger either. However, I did make sure that upon certain time gap from one post, the following post had a reviving effect (at least to me). Anyway, they say that losers have many excuses and blames to put on and I choose not to be one. So without any more remorse, I, like many others, would like to mark this special date (11.12.13) as getting back on horse. Happy blogging and reading.