Mar 2, 2012

Five days a week, please


Photo: http://www.dailymail.co.uk
Unlike in the past this year His Majesty’s 32nd Birth Anniversary (February 21 – 23, 2012) and Losar of Water Male Dragon Year (February 22-23, 2012) coincided. It was nice that two happy occasions happened to fall on the same day. Realizing that the Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs, Royal Government of Bhutan declared “24th February, 2012 as a public holiday.”

And unfortunately the day fell on Friday. For civil servants, Saturday is a day off. But not for many corporate and private employees- even teachers (although civil servants fall in this group!) Many, including me, felt that public holiday on February 24, 2012 was declared solely for civil servants in mind and with no consideration what so ever for the “others”.

Everywhere, teaching is considered a very noble profession, but the statement is debatable when we talk of it in Bhutan. Here, it is a profession, which many opt out of choice-less choice. No offense to our teachers! Of course you are right, there are many teachers out there, who have opted for teaching out of sheer love of teaching and educating children. And there are others who initially join the profession with no interest, but later loved to teach. So, why is teaching no more noble, at least in Bhutan?

Well, I don’t know how our teachers feel about this, but I am uncomfortable with the fact that our teachers fall under the purview of RCSC. Let’s leave the reason why teachers should be independent of RSCC is a topic for another post. And unlike their cousins in the ministries or dzongkhag administrations, our teachers work half days even on Saturdays.

Now we our schools open as early as February 15 in the year. Back then it used to be March 10. And this is what I think it should be. Since we start schools early now, we should even think of having a day off on Saturdays. But the day off should not be thought as an idle time.
Photo: From Penstar collection

I see schools around the country using this time for the promotion of games and sports; it is time when our children are encouraged to do what they do best – music, writing, reading, carry out acting classes, art, photography, designing, singing, dancing – all these skills that would earn them rice later; this is when our teachers can have time to teach our children creative writings, which is something that never happens in Bhutanese schools; this is the best time for our children to engage in political, social, religious, etc. debates. And it is also good time for our children voluntarily carry out some socially beneficial projects. 

This way our children have a complete and undisturbed rest on Sundays. When we start early, I don't see why we cannot meet the instructional days of 180. Schools in the west do well with just five days a week and Saturdays are dedicated for such aforementioned activities. 

And what about those corporate employees, don't they deserve a day off on Saturdays too?