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.
Prime Minister has asked the employment task force to create more employment opportunities in the country. The news is welcome. There was the talk of a 100 percent employment and then of full employment not so long ago. These promises have not faded from public memory. Whatever they mean in political terms matter not much to the people. What matters is that unemployment is increasingly becoming a big issue in this our small society.
It was quite a scene at the Zangtopelri complex in Phuentsholing town, as Anti Corruption Commission officials shut down a shopping complex and three other shops, allegedly linked to corrupt practices. A huge crowd gathered at the premises as words spread about the presence of the ACC investigation team. By the time officials sealed the shops, police had to shoo the crowd away. Such activities always draw public attention.
It’s a shame that the education ministry’s most successful programme, the non-formal education, is in dire need of attention. Giving an opportunity for those, who missed out formal education, the programme came as a boon for the ones who could not read and write. Its popularity was evident from the numbers that enrolled. Since it started in 1992, about 160,000 have benefited, which UNESCO recognised with the Confucius prize for literacy.
It is late, but that’s better than never. An association like the recently launched Bhutan Democracy Dialogue was one that was missing in our journey to making Bhutan a strong and unique democracy. The body is a multi party association, which knows well what transpires before, during and after an election. Such a body is crucial in allowing them to work together for the cause of democracy, even if they represent different political parties with different ideas.
The season of rain has now begun, officially. Freshness is all about. Our gardens, our walkways and our pathways are breathing life and hope. Flowers are in full bloom. There are colours and fragrance myriad in the air. It’s a time of celebration, of things good and promising. Poets have hymns for this season. Philosophers have pondered at the magic and marvels of this wonderful time of the year. Growth and rejuvenation is by right our fare.
The annual general meeting of the Bhutan Chambers of Commerce and Industries is a good forum for the private sector to raise and discuss issues concerning them. It is here the sector, now hope of the government for employment generation, raises concerns of government policies that benefit or affect them.
Education lies at the front and centre of our national life. Our success and our failure will be determined by the robustness of our education system. Bhutan Council for School Examinations and Assessment’s (BCSEA) decision to include more competency-based questions that will require critical thinking is welcome.
The suspense is over. The draw for the second round of World Cup 2018 is out, and we know our chances of progressing to the next stage. We are already the underdogs, even if we were ranked above Hong Kong in the recently updated FIFA ranking. The biggest hurdle obviously is China and Qatar. China has featured in the 2002 World Cup, although they lost all three games without scoring a single goal.
There are a lot of expectations rested on our private sector. It is the engine and the driver of economic growth, and solution to a mounting unemployment problem. Such is the importance of the sector, long recognised, at least theoretically. The sector, despite all its shortcomings, has matured. Today, they are even confident enough to ask for a share in constructing mega projects, like the hydropower ones. This is encouraging, because a thriving private sector can provide the alternative, especially in creating jobs. Government jobs [... Read More]