Overseas jobs, teachers day celebration, media literacy and pedestrian safety

Migrant workers rehabilitation programme

More than 2,000 overseas jobs were on offer last week at a job fair in Thimphu. Employers from countries, including Kuwait, India and Japan, had come to look for jobseekers in the country.

This means that Bhutan is emerging as a supplier of labour force for countries in the Middle East, India, and other countries around the world.

Accordingly, it has become important for the labour ministry to conduct awareness programmes about the welfare of the migrant workers for youths in the country. It is important for youths to have adequate knowledge about benefits and working conditions before they decide to go for foreign employment.

Embassies in the employer country should also provide such awareness programmes upon their arrival in the employer country. The migrant workers should be informed about their welfare, services, and perks provided by their employer as per the rules and regulations of the foreign country.

The employees should be educated about the rescue agencies if unfortunate incidents and difficult situations arise. The recruits should be aware of health risks and training for preventive measures.

It is also important that they get government assistance after the arrival from a foreign employment. Hence, it is time for the government to devise rehabilitation programmes and policies for those returning from foreign employment.

(Published on May 21, 2018)

Kandrinche la (Teacher’s day celebration in Bhutan)

This is to express our gratitude to Their Majesties, Lyonpo Norbu Wangchuk, officers of ministry of education and everyone who contributed to the great idea of calling us to the country to participate as Guest of Honour for the Teacher’s Day Celebration in Bhutan.

It was a real excitement to all of us to come back to the country after over two decades, that too as State Guests. The way we were received at Paro airport and the way we were taken care during our stay in Thimphu were absolutely stunning. This gave us a chance to meet our old colleagues as well as our own students from various schools, now doing well in all fields of life, which made us very proud.

The presence of Their Majesties at the ground on 2nd May, the Royal audience given to us at the ground with a group photo session, the dinner hosted by the ministry of education; the high tea hosted by His Majesty at Hotel Taj Tashi on 3rd May with a group photo session and dinner at Hotel Druk, all indicated the importance given to our visit.

Besides all, the treatment given to nine of us – (five of us teachers of His Majesty -) as Royal guests in Taj Tashi from 3rd May to 8th May was really a recognition given to Gurus. We are lucky to get a special audience with Their Majesties at the Palace over a tea and individual photo session with Their Majesties, which was much beyond our expectations.

We are delighted to see the country is safe in the hands of young, vibrant, visionary King and Queen. In Hindu teachings, the order of reverence is given as Maths, Pitha, Guru, Daivam(Mother, Father, Teacher, God). The whole exercise by the country from April 27 to May 8 2018, honouring, respecting, accepting and appreciating Gurus – teachers, show that the country is going in the right direction and to the prosperity and well being of the people. This also gives a message to the younger generation that respecting

teachers and receiving blessing of teachers is very important in success of life. We want to acknowledge the love, respect and care given to us during our visit to Thimphu. We want to thank former Thrimchi Sonam Tobgye and Speaker Jigme Zangpo for being instrumental to convince the authority, to call ex Indian teachers to make this years Teacher’s Day Celebration memorable for both Bhutan and us teachers.

We also take this opportunity to thank Lyonpo Norbu Wangchuk, Secretary Karma Yeshey, director Kinley Gyeltshen, Asst HR Karma Tenzin, our Warden Chimmi Tshewang and our Headmaster Pema Wangchuck and all those assisting them.

Above all we sincerely thank Their Majesties whose command made it possible. We pray for the prosperity of the Royal Family and the Country.

George Simon & Mrs Premy George
(Published on May 22, 2018)

Positive qualities of youth should be appreciated

Everyone knows that the youth are the future of the country. However, they are mostly viewed negatively given the activities they often indulge in such as bullying and brawls.

But concerned authorities are taking initiatives to reform the youth and to engage them productively. The recent news about 60 youth registering for land use right system projectto take up farming is an encouraging move. This proves that youth can and will also opt for jobs in the farm and not just white collar jobs, as most perceive to be.

The much talked about story on social media about two students returning Nu 49,000 that they found in Phuentsholing should be applauded and celebrated. Their act not only shows the goodness that youth hold but also that of humanity.

Such incidents remind us of the potential, strength and goodness of the youth and not to look down on them but to foster these qualities for a better society. The negative perception of youth  should never over shadow the positive potential and energy they hold.

(Published on May 23, 2018)

Pedestrian safety

As a very occasional working visitor to Bhutan I am always happy to witness the various and numerous innovative projects being undertaken around the country, especially in Paro.

However, I feel I must comment on the pedestrian safety and traffic issues in the main street of Paro town. First, the pay for parking, is a good way to improve the parking situation, as are the parking space lines and the very helpful ticket collectors. Second, my main concerns are about the pedestrian crossings. I am aware that these marked crossing places have been only introduced recently, but having a parking space where the crossing meets the side of the road makes for a difficult situation as the driver can not see the person(s) trying to cross the road. Third, still with the crossing issue, it is the attitude of the drivers that astound me, as they willingly seem to ignore the fact that there is a crossing there at all! Fourth, the lighting above the crossings is another bone of contention. Perhaps a little more light on the crossing may assist drivers to be more aware at night.

So are there solutions? May I suggest that the pedestrians be informed that if they stand on the crossing they need to proceed across the road so as to leave no doubt in the drivers’ mind about what is happening. Maybe a sign to this effect could be erected at both ends of the crossing? Educate the drivers to stop if there is a person standing on the crossing, and in the short term fine those who ignore this rule. Finally, remove the parking spaces on either side of the crossing, with a penalty for drivers who transgress.

Memey John
(Published on May 24, 2018)

Issues with statutory auditing

Bhutan has about 500 private and government companies. Every year they are mandated to undergo statutory auditing by the auditors registered by the Royal Audit Authority (RAA). Only foreign accounting and auditing firms carry out all the audit needs of these companies.

The RAA does not register professional Bhutanese auditors and accountants. Actually, there are quite a number of qualified Bhutanese accountants and auditors who applied for registration but they are left at the mercy of RAA’s whims and fancies. In fact, the quality of audit carried out by non-Bhutanese will not be better than ones conducted by the Bhutanese in all terms.

I would suggest some independent experts to do the compliance check of the audits. Our bureaucrats always say that ‘private sector is the engine of growth’ but they contradict by making things difficult for the private people to initiate activities and grow.

Some of the disadvantages of involving foreign auditors are: outflow of foreign currencies, no professional development for qualified Bhutanese auditors, no motivation to pursue auditing and accounting degrees and we lose young and passionate minds to other countries’ farms and fields.

Hem Gurung
(Published on May 25, 2018)

Make citizens media literate

Today, it is almost impossible to be without Internet or our cell phones. More than texts and calls, we are glued to various social media platforms for hours. It is addictive. It has become a part of our lives.

Since elections are just a few months away, various fake accounts have become active and accounts have already started posting irrelevant causes to the issues that exist.
I feel that this is the right time for stakeholders to at least create awareness among people. Especially, about media literacy as people react instantly and are easily swayed by the information that is on these social media platforms.

Although this might be the third parliamentary election, people are still not aware of the false and irrelevant information that are posted on such platforms.

It is the right of every citizen to have the freedom to use social media, and we cannot stop one from consuming the contents on such platforms. But we can at least make the effort to make people aware of the unreliable and false news or content.

(Published on May 26, 2018)

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