27 December 2012

Losing True Wisdom

I have witnessed many elderly civil servants retiring from their jobs because they have reached the retirement age inscribed in Civil Service Rule of Bhutan, and I was with the notion that it's a right thing to create space for the younger generation who would bring about newer and efficient ways of working.
18 Dec 2012, His Last Day in Bajo
But last month when Mr. PKB announced his retirement I was deeply saddened and shocked. By rule his has become old enough to retire but in school he was enjoying the best years of his career. His age is neither visible on him physically nor in his professional performances.
He traveled from India in 1978, even before my parents got married, and became a primary teacher in our country. Ever since he traveled back rarely and on two occasions he returned with his head shaved- when his lost his father and mother. Now he has no more reasons to go to India because in last 34 years in Bhutan he has made Bhutan his home.
 In 1997 he was transferred to Bajothang School where he taught High School for the first time. But a man of his wisdom could not only overcome new changes but also conquer them; he became one of the best known high school Maths teachers in the country.
He was among the dozen teachers who began Bajothang school in 1997 and have been serving in this school for last fifteen years during which he transformed the lives of thousands of Bhutanese people either academically or humanely.
When I heard about his resignation I ran to him and suggested him about writing to ministry for extension of his contract, but he shook my hands and asked me, "How long can it be extended?"
He had already applied to a private school that was more than honoured to welcome him, because he was known for his dedication and work ethics. He was happy to go where he was wanted and I was happy for him. But for Bajothang School and for the Education Ministry it's a big loss, and our policies need a serious revisit.
I am not qualified enough to talk about the general civil service but when it comes to teaching family I have observed that older the teacher gets better he becomes in terms of knowledge and wisdom, and for teachers like Mr. PKB students die to learn from him. But because we have mixed teaching with general civil service we are losing teachers when they have acquired so much to give. Looking at how renowned universities across the world take pride in their old professors, our system is making fools of itself by not investing in our reputed teachers.
Compulsory retirement age is set perhaps to create more employment intakes capacity for younger generation but in teaching system we are in permanent shortage of manpower and I am surprised we are letting go the most ripened teachers from our family.
Bajothang will miss this great maths teacher but we are happy he will continue to teach in Bhutan for many good years of his life.


  1. .... and I suppose, the fact that you do not make any mention of him being one among those teachers who received recognition during the recent National Day Celebrations, he wasn't recommended by your school for a well deserved award?

    This reminds me to meet up with my two old Indian teachers who have long retired from government schools but are still domiciled in the country. I too have wonderful memories of those old teachers.

  2. Was that award based on school's recommendation? I have no idea about it but He really deserved that. I will talk to my principal about this.

  3. i would like to thank sir PKB for all the hard work he put in to change the life of his students including myself... Thanks to sir passang for letting us know.

  4. An excellent point well made, I join Passang in urging the MinistryofEducation to review this policy with a view to rescind it forthwith.


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