Health worker shortage, media professionalism, teacher IWP and discotheque issue at Olakha, Thimphu

Addressing shortage of health workers

The graduation of first batch of specialists from the medical university next month comes as good news to everyone.

I am writing this in appreciation to everyone who made it possible to produce our homegrown specialists. The faculty members and the specialists should be commended for their hard work and the success. Providing opportunities for the resident doctors to study postgraduate courses within the country not only benefits the trainees but also patients and the hospital. Such initiatives should however continue without compromising the quality.

Many issues have been raised on the shortage of health workers including the retention of the specialists in the country. The shortage is not only in Bhutan but also across the world. But it is important that the government works towards addressing the shortage.

As new medical services get introduced with new diseases, shortage will be there. If the university produces eight specialists every year, the country will have 80 more specialists in 10 years. Even if the shortage is not fully addressed, the university producing specialists every year will surely help address the issue to some extent and strengthen our health system.

(Published June 25, 2018)

Media losing professionalism?

I would like to express my concern over a statement I came across in the lead article of Kuensel’s July 25 issue titled ‘99.97 percent of households connected with electricity’. While most of the article seemed mainly factual, one sentence in the article stood out: “[While] 99.97 percent is as good as 100 percent”. This attracted my attention for two reasons – one being the unclear source of this opinion and the second being the dismissal of the 0.03 percent.

When I say the unclear source, I am mainly referring to the way the sentence was phrased. It sounded more like the reporter’s opinion. This got me worried as I look towards print media as outlets that provide us with unbiased facts. While I understand it is impossible to fully eliminate bias, I read newspapers like Kuensel with the expectation that I am presented with a neutral piece.

Second is the tone of the statement itself. The way it was presented seems as if the 0.03% of the population that currently do not have access to electricity can be dismissed and is of no concern. A reflection of this mindset could have large repercussions.

While I hope that this is not just an unfortunate misunderstanding of the statement on my part, I have used this as an example to express the same apprehensions I have held when considering media in general.

(Published on June 26, 2018)

Olakha’s Discotheque — Operating beyond time, again!

This is to bring to the notice of the regulatory body and related offices. Is there a preferential time approved for the discotheque in Olakha? There have been many concerns expressed by the residents on the unruly operation of the discotheque and how it impacts the quality of life in Olakha. It has been quite for almost a month and residents were happy, but it has started again and operating until 4am.

The discotheque opens around 2am when all discotheques close in Thimphu. By the time, all partygoers arrive at Olakha and are usually drunk. They blast music on the road, shout and fight. Last Saturday at 2:40 am, there were more than 50 vehicles with intoxicated people. Around 2:45am, a patrol police car reached with six policemen. They were helpless and could not close the place. I don’t know if the police met with the owner or did anything but they could not close the discotheque and operation went on until 4am.

Bhutan Infocomm & Media Authority (BICMA) recently shifted the responsibility to investigate to the police. What is there to investigate and did BICMA receive a report? Does the recent stabbing and voice of the residents mean anything to BICMA? It is an open secret that there is a gambling ring operating, which is damaging the livelihood of the residents of Olakha. What is the purpose of having BICMA if the institution is not willing to add value to the livelihood of the people residing in Thimphu?

We respect and depend on institutions like BICMA to be proactive and make sensible assessment to shift/shut such businesses, which impact the livelihood of the people. Please do something and try to move these entertainment centres from Olakha. This is our appeal to BICMA.

Troubled and in deep anticipation of support.

Pema Jamtsho
Olakha resident
(Published on June 27, 2018)

Response to “Olakha’s Discotheque — Operating beyond time, again!”

BICMA would like to thank Mr Pema Jamtsho, a resident of Olakha, for bringing out in public the issue of a discotheque in Olakha, for operating beyond the normal allocated time. It would have been better if Mr Pema Jamtsho had been a little tolerant before generously accusing BICMA in public of not doing its job and questioning the institutional existence of BICMA.

As pointed out, BICMA has no right to shift its responsibility to any organization but for efficiency and long term sustainability, BICMA believes in collaborative regulation and works together with the RBP and the Thimphu Thromde in monitoring the entertainment establishments. What Mr Jamtsho should know is that these officials of the Thromde, RBP and BICMA go around regularly at
odd hours to monitor 145 establishments (13 Drayangs, 7 Discotheques, 29 Karoakes, 8 Live Music, 27 Video Parlours & 61 snookers) under Thimthrom.

Of the two discotheques in Olakha, Mr Jamtsho should know that one has already been cancelled for repeated non- compliance and violation.

BICMA Management
(Published on June 28, 2018)

Welcome as many teams from other dzongkhags at the national leagues

The national league that will play teams from across the country will kick off soon with Thimphu league nearing end. I would like to share my concern about the number of teams national league allows from other dzongkhags.

Considered as one of the top tier football leagues in the country, the league plays three clubs from Thimphu and a team each from other dzongkhags of Paro, Punakha, and Phuentsholing.

Paro and Phuentsholing have two teams each this year. However, only one qualifies to play in the national league after the qualifier. The number of teams the league allows from other dzongkhag is discouraging.

I feel that welcoming as many teams for the competition like the national league will encourage the teams and help popularise the sport.

When Thimphu league can play 10 teams why can’t national league play more teams. When the teams from other dzongkhags are forthcoming, let us welcome them.

Kelzang Dorji
(Published on June 29, 2018)

IWP (Individual Work Plan) for teachers

The recent debate on “IWP for teachers” deserves further attention from our leaders and also from all the citizens of this country, as education is something which we all should take ownership of.

Although RCSC has developed the IWP system and is being implemented across our civil service, it is felt that it may not be well suited for our teaching faculty if we are to really improve the quality of education. As debated in the Parliament too, the IWP, besides promoting other positive qualities in a civil servant also promotes a sense of competition among each other. If the teachers compete among themselves to obtain better scores or any other form of incentives, then there is a very good possibility that the attention and emphasis on academics may reduce. This does not bode well for our education system, and especially for the quality education that we all are aiming for.

It is hoped that the debate will soon be over between various agencies and that ultimately, teachers are left to focus hundred percent on academics. Instead of other non-teaching activities, our teachers may be assigned to take up small assignments during summer/winter breaks on how to better improve teaching methods, on continuous rethinking/ review of our curriculum,

on how to stimulate learning mind in our children, etc. These need not be major assignments but simple ones but solely related to academics. There may be plenty of good literature on the web or these exercises can trigger creativity in our teachers themselves. Few sessions may be arranged right after the break within the school for the teachers to present their learning outcomes and thus foster sharing of knowledge among our teachers, but not again with a view to promote competition.

(Published on June 30, 2018)


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