About Me

My photo
Phurba is from the remote hamlet of Dangchu under Wangdue Dzongkhag. He started his education from the last hut of erstwhile Dangchu Community School and then to Nobding and to Bajo. After class X, he went to Punakha HSS and obtained his degree in Economics from Sherubtse College, an affiliate to Delhi University. Prior to joining civil service, he did his Post Graduate in Public Administration from RIM. He started his career with the Ministry of Education as an Asst. Planning Officer. Today Phurba is a Planning Officer at the Gross National Happiness Commission Secretariat. He obtained Master in Economics from the Australian National University.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Tribute to His Majesty the Fourth King of Bhutan

People of Bhutan are the lucky to be born in this country under the reign of dharma kings. His Majesty the fourth king’s birth on 11th November 1955 to this land of pristine beauty was indeed an answer to our prayers and prophesies. Trying to write a usual short birth day message on this auspicious day to His Majesty is a challenge. There is just too much to write.
His Majesty means so much to us. Today it is hard to believe that our country has reached so far under his golden reign of over three decades of his selfless, perseverance and innovative action.
He is an extra ordinary monarch. His selfless and dedicated acts for the welfare of country and people were epitomized during the 2003 military operation where he risked his own royal life for us. He single handedly brought in all rounded development to our nation in keeping with the ideals of GNH which he is the architect. We enjoyed unprecedented peace and harmony coupled with economic growth and social development during his reign.  His reign also saw enormous increase in enrolment both in formal and non- formal education with concomitant increase in number of educational institutes. The reform of education taken up during his reign is now changing the landscape of education in Bhutan. Bhutan has came long way and there was a sea changes for good during his reign. We owe too much to His Majesty the 4th King.
On this auspicious day, I offer my sincere prayers for his good health.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A Golden Touch

The modern education in Bhutan has made what I am today. I have been yearning for the opportunity to pen down my feelings on the impact that modern education had on me. On this occasion, I must say that I couldn’t find a more apt opportunity to do it than now when the modern education system in our country is marking its hundredth year of existence. The observance of the Sherig Century by the Ministry of Education of which I have fortunately become a part has allowed me the chance to retrace my own educational journey.  
In the decades after the 1960s when mass modern education first started, there has been tremendous emphasis on education in Bhutan. It was in early 1990s that the effect of this emphasis on education trickled down to my village and we were endowed with a small school. Considering all the basic facilities missing in our village among which were health and RNR extension offices, the Royal Government had wisely chosen the provision of a school as a priority. Establishment of the school was not the priority then for many people. Other development like roads and bridges which bear tangible result in short periods of time have always taken more priority than the more long term projects like education. But this was not the case in my village.  When the government established the school, there was overwhelming response from our people even though it took almost two decades to see the impact of education. During that time, we were literally lifted from the farm. Now, our village can see many young folks like me who are educated and contribute in big and small ways in their own rights. We were by and large, the first generation to get modern education from our village. 
We started our schooling from the hut that was constructed with labour contributions from our parents. The government on the other hand provided us with minimum basic facilities that were enough to keep the process of teaching and learning alive. While, our government was not in the position to provide us with fabulous curriculum and lavish resources, but it was nevertheless successful in engaging us by providing motivated and enthusiastic educators who were able to make up for the deficiencies in all the other spheres. It is very true that education can take place even under the tree if we have motivated learners and educators.
Today, I can clearly remember the moment when a couple from Kerala, India came to our school to teach. To many of us, they were first Indian nationals we had ever seen. Language then was the strongest barrier. I vividly remember how they instructed us to cut grasses. Very often, sign language was the means of communication between us. My teacher used to carry a sickle and literally demonstrated to let us cut grasses, for we were not able to understand English then, certainly not the English that they spoke. We used to speak in Dzongkha to them when we had to talk to them even though we knew they don’t understand. It was also our first to get a lady teacher. When she first came to our class, we said in habitual unison, ‘Good Morning Sir’. By then we thought all the teachers teaching subject other than Dzongkha were called Sir. The only exception to the ‘Sir’ rule was ‘Lopon’ applied to our Dzongkha language teacher. We took a couple of months to get used to the idea of referring to our lady teacher as ‘Madam’. Our journey began from there with our two Indian teachers who brought keys to unlocking our infantile minds which was then duly filled with treasure troves of wisdom by other teachers later.
While the goal of education is pretty broad, for me it has taught me to become a productive member of the society. At a more mundane level, it has given me the chance to live a more comfortable life than my parents. Education in many other countries is an expensive market product. However, in Bhutan we are fortunate to have free education which people from all walks of life can avail. My humble standing in the civil service today is a testimony to the far-reaching effect of free education in our society. If I had to pay for my education, I am sure that I will still have been toiling in my village today.
Being a beneficiary of our generous education system, I am today happy to be able to work for this system. Looking back, I am proud of the choice I have made in my life, helped in large measures by the wisdoms that I have been able to land. It is now my chance to give back what I have received. It is my singular fortune to be in a position to help our education system grow from strength to strength and help change more young people like me.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Farewell Speech for Valediction of 29th IDEPA, NUEPA, New Delhi on 29/04/’13

Hon’ble Vice Chancellor of the University, Distinguished Heads of Department, Learned Professors, esteem lecturers and staff, my Dear Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen. At the outset, I would like to wish you all a very Good Afternoon.
I am Phurba, hailing from the tiny Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan which is, some choose to say sandwiched between two giants, India and China. Today, I am standing before you, with a myriad of emotions; quite similar to those I faced the first day I entered this building. Most of all, I will miss the very heart of my experience as a student; my friends and my teachers. A lot of things will change in our lives from now on! But the memories, the fun, frolic, experiences, no one can take that away from us. I am extremely proud to be able to call this University as my alma mater. I am proud to call myself as an alumini of this well known University, which is truly, The Peak of Learning.
If there is one thing which we’d take from this University back to our own country, it’ll be the point about the nectar of knowledge that we have sucked from this very university. Knowledge is power and we cannot quantify or put price tag on it. It is precious and priceless. As most of you may be aware that most of our friends are facing difficulties to limit their baggage to the quantity allowed by respective airlines. If knowledge, experience and learning are something tangible, I don’t have slightest doubt that the situation would be far and worse than limiting our luggage. Within this three months time we have learned many things, so much so from not having touched the computer to techno savvy. We were able to engage ourselves meaningfully in social media where a group exclusively has been created for 29th IDEPA which is administered by me on the face book. It was surprising that within a few weeks, whole batch has become members of this group. We can now vividly remember those planning techniques like projections and various educational indicators, to name a few which were something new to many of us. We cannot say that we have became management gurus after completing this course but I am certain my friends will agree that we have started our journey towards it or in the worse cases we are able to at least learn many new management, economics and financial terminologies which were just jargons that we never consider important. With this course, now at least some of the mediocre with halt hearted knowledge will not easily fool us. It is from this course that we were given the roots to grow and wings to fly. We were enriched. We came as caterpillars and we are going as butterflies. However, we can reach so far but not further had it not been our learned professors, strongly supported by efficient management. Therefore, on this special occasion on behalf of our friends and on my own, I would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to all the souls that were involved directly or indirectly to enable us to do some soul searching here.
When I look back at these moments today, I see that in the depths of despair and the heights of happiness, we’ve all been together. I know that my batch is always with me; and so it must be the case with many of us. From East, West, North and South, we were able to make a good family for three months. We came from unique and divers background. Forget about knowing each other, many of us didn’t hear and didn’t see some of the countries even in the map. We have diverse group coming from Eastern Africa, Western Africa, Southern Africa and Central Africa. We were also joined by our only colleague from Chile, Latin America which has stunning natural beauty and robust free market economy. We have also participants from Asia’s most enthralling destination like Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam. Joined us were participants from unmistakably beautiful archipelago of the Philippines, from the pristine and sacred Himalayan countries like Bhutan and Nepal, from the Island of Sri Lanka and mountainous Tajikistan. Some are independent from time immemorial while other got independent later. Some are rich some are not so rich. Some are endowed with precious resources while others have their own advantages. These vast differences were an added advantage for this batch in increasing the intellectual frontier of our knowledge. To all my dear colleagues, it was fortunate that because of our karmic reaction, we were able to cross our path in the journey of our precious life. We have learned a lot from each other. We have shared every good moments and created good memories during which we laughed and sing together. We might have also passed through some difficult time but we’ve been together in all this. I personally would like to take all those good memories and dump here bad memories if at all we ever had one.
Personally, I am honoured to be part of this programme. It is like coming back home. Firstly, Bhutan and India shares an exemplary relationship which we always look forward to nurture in all times to come for the mutual benefit of the duo. Secondly and importantly, I personally felt indebted to India for making who I am today. This is because of tireless effort put in by my dedicated Indian teachers. They took days to reach my schools cooking food under umbrella and sleeping in the densely forested area. In my entire ladder of education, I didn’t have a single year without Indian teachers and still I am learning from Indians. So, this is a blessing in disguise for me to visit the sacred place where my Gurus belong.
Lastly but far from the least, I just have two cliché words for the university and my friends.  That is Thank you.
Tashi Delek!


Monday, February 4, 2013

My first day in Delhi

Glimpse of traffic

Hailed from the tiny village in the corner of Bhutan, I along with two other friends came to India to pursue International Diploma in Educational Planning and Administration offered in National University of Educational Planning and Administration, New Delhi. The very next day we went to class for registration where we found around 40 others to be our classmates for the next three months. All of us were from different parts of the globe especially developing countries including Africa, Latin America and Asia. The first day was not so occupied but we were reminded that once the class actually starts we will be pretty much occupied. I am familiar with Indian Education system though. We were also briefed on the situation of Delhi and not to move out of the campus for at least a week. Also oriented to campus and small shops in the campus where we get some basic needs. And if at all we need to go out of the campus, we were asked to go in groups with assistance from our staff.
We didn’t pay heed to the advice and decided to go out the very next day without informing our staff. Our friend from Vietnam and Chile joined us because we Bhutanese know Hindi which indeed is added advantage but funny part is that most of the people don’t understand the Hindi we speak. Even others wanted to go for shopping with us just because they think that we were expert in Hindi. Confidently we went out of our University gate and took an auto to the town. In the first place we had tough time remembering the name of the place and shopping centre. But we were able to reach in a shopping mall known as ‘Select City Walk’ located in the south Delhi. Remembering the name of the mall was not easy but remembering name of place itself was even more difficult. The exciting and entertaining mall is located in Saket. Some of our friends call us but we were not able to tell the mane of the place and and our location. That was funny. Whatsoever, we have done some shopping.
Then with our not so versed Hindi we boarded in a rickshaw this time to reach us in the metro station. Our next station was to drop a parcel to the Tibetan camp in Majnu Katila. In the metro station, as usual we asked other strangers regarding our destiny. Luckily we have taken travel cards from Bhutan to be used in metro from our friends who have been to India recently. We have given a card each to our two new friends. After a little hiccup in knowing how to use the cards we got into the metro which is already jammed packed. The name of the station where we were supposed to get out was our mantra. Then again we took a rickshaw to reach to Majnu Katila. We have no idea where the place is and got out of the rickshaw before reaching the exact place. After looking around and wandering for sometimes we asked some Tibetan monks. Then we were told that we have not reached the place and from there we decided to walk. After walking for a few minutes, finally we were able to reach the camp which is very crowded. Then the challenge was finding the particular house.  After asking many people we found the house and drop the parcel and instantly returned since the lady who was supposed to receive the parcel went to town.
By then we were too tired and hungry too. From the face, we could notice that our two friends were worried. Then in an auto we again came till the metro station and boarded again. After getting out of metro we told name of our university to all auto and rickshaw drivers. We were surprised that even a single heard doesn’t know the name of our university which is supposed to be renowned.  We have very vague sense of direction. With great effort we were able to cross the road to the other side. From there we decided to take a bus. To the bus driver, we said that we want to go to IIT gate. Accordingly, the bus left us there. We look around, but there was no sign of our university. We enquired around and luckily we were able to meet a lady who speaks English fluently. She clearly showed us the direction and we followed her advice obediently.
Finally we saw the name of our university and our two friends were clapping their hands out of amusement and they took sigh of relief.   While it was unimaginably difficult, we were able to reach back safely. It was really adventures and we said that it was a great discovery.
Later over the dinner, the same was the talk in dining hall. Our two friends said three of their Bhutanese friends were hero. We laugh out a lot reflecting back to our acts and repeating what we said. It was difficult but very beautiful when we actually reflect. Such moment will be remembered and cherished in the distant future but at the same time we don’t want such things to happen again in our life.