Pay is significantly important. But it is not the sole determinant, by any means.
Our civil servants are recognised for the best even as they are visibly the poorest performers, with medals and decorations of kinds and kinds.
There is a need for a systemic overhaul. Looking at the civil service, the way it functions and the powers it is given to is not the way if the country is to move forward.
If we must acknowledge anyone for good national service, let the medals go to those who have made some difference in the lives of the nation’s many people and the systems that have left them vastly entrapped.
For a nation like Bhutan, strengthening of the social sectors is important. That’s why, recently, our professionals in the health and education sectors were given the biggest salary rise.
But, time has now come, particularly for Bhutan, to adopt a culture that is time-specific. Root out the old and bring in the new. Recognise the knowledge and the new ideas because the past has begun to serve us less than little.
Let us bring in the picture of resource, too. The well spent, the better, because the waste also is becoming more pronounced by the day.
The truth is though even as we have given them a good raise, teachers continue to leave the system. A profound thought comes to mind that was made plain by one of the foremost Bhutanese educators not so long ago: “Our teachers will forever be paid less because what they offer is priceless.”
But then, we will come to know the true loss only after the many sectors have mustered the courage to tell us how many good individuals they have lost in the many years.
Our professionals may not be leaving jobs solely because of pay. Have we looked at the systems wherein they are made to work? Performers and true professionals do not find home in a constricted boundary of la and las. The Marey-Laso attitude that has been the bane of our development system for many years, which we thought was long behind us, is haunting us again.
We might talk good about the youth and the civil servants, again and again, but we are perhaps missing the real point. Nation-building is about individual responsibility and that doesn’t have to wait for honours and medals.
What is needed, imperatively, is a space to grow which seems to be lacking. And this points to a real need for a systemic overhaul. For Bhutan, it is now or never.