Thursday, January 03, 2008

History in Dzongkha: delink or not?

The decision to teach History in Dzongkha was a very good decision taken by the Education Ministry. The problem is not with the decision, but with the preparations for the new challenge. I think the preparations, especially in terms of training the teachers for the new challenges, were not enough. So the current doubtful scenario has resulted.


The solution to this scenario is not to backtrack on the good decision, but to overcome the challenge of providing enough trained teachers and providing other support and facilities if required.

History is best learnt in our own language, from the perspective of our culture and social background. This is an undeniable fact. We cannot justify learning our own history in another language just because we feel ‘our own language is more difficult than other people’s language’. That would make a sorry case.

Dzongkha is not a difficult subject/language. At least it should not be so for the Bhutanese. What is lacking is the interest to genuinely promote its usage. More support is needed from all quarters. When Chinese and Japanese could master their languages, which have much more complex writing system than that of Dzongkha, why can't we Bhutanese master our own language?

Yes, English is important too; but then, so is Dzongkha. We Bhutanese have to be good at both English and Dzongkha. And we can be good at both of them.

Last, but not the least, history is too important a subject to be neglected. Understanding our past, we are better prepared to face the challenges of the present and the future.

History should be taught by people who have genuine interest and passion for history. It should not be taught as 'one damned thing after another'. History has been mistreated enough as a boring subject.

History should be taught in a manner that connects the past to the present. It should be taught as an interesting story, which invokes total attention from the students and inspires them to love and appreciate our country more and emulate the deeds of historical figures.

That is what history is about, and it is better if the decision to teach it in Dzongkha, our own language, is not undone.