August 20, 2015

With love, From Jakar: Hectic Times

Dear Wify,

These days are the most hectic here in Jakar, with so many programs vying for our attention. And my students are finding it difficult to prioritize the usage of their leisure time. It is the season of dances and songs, games and sports, tshechus and exams, all together.

Practicing for three nights of Annual Variety Show after school takes all of their leisure hour. On top of that there is the Games & Sports meet for the whole dzongkhag happening in Jakar this year. The regional meet was also supposed to happen here but thank god we were able to push it away to Ura.

And not to forget the approach of the tshechu season in Bumthang. It starts with Tamzhing Mewang, and continues till Jambay Lhakhang Drub. So many holidays, a long distraction from the academic routine. And finally the exams arrive with the cold.

I would wish to not be a student of Jakar these times because of all these activities added to the already hectic academic learning, club hours, SUPW and study hours.

Someone said, schools are the dumping place for experimenters. Because whatever programs and ideas wants to be piloted by whichever agency or ministry is always thrown to the schools. And it is our students who feel the brunt of this experimentation.

Case in point, just a couple of days ago Lam Kunzang Dorji Rimpochhe  and his entourage of Jangsa Animal Saving Trust spent a couple of hours in my school talking about ‘Zhiwai Lamten’ project. I had a conversation with one of his group member who was very passionate about his work with Lam, and he even talked about the textbook of ‘Agriculture and Food Security’, a new subject in higher secondary schools. He pointed out that the subject described ways to kill pigs and chicken with diagrams ‘and we call ourselves living in a GNH country’.

And it’s my students who are confused more. They are always pressurized with lots of responsibilities. Thinking back to my high school years, 15 years ago, I wasn’t as busy as my students are these days. There weren’t many programs.

These days with the school’s need to prove to others, more programs are introduced, some forcefully shoved down to the school (without proper impact-analysis). At the end it’s neither the school nor the teachers who feel the pressure. It’s the students. No wonder they look for release from this pressure in alcohol, tobacco and drugs abuse.

So you will understand if I sometimes hold a glass of whisky, or a jug of beer. It’s just to ‘cool down’ after a hectic day.

With Love, From Jakar.

[These smiles will soon disappear when they reach high school. Photo Courtesy:]