Education gets a bad press
Is there truth? Goodness? And is it necessary?
|Education minister Thakur S Powdyel|
12th Meet The Press 29 April, 2011 – Expressing his disappointment with the press coverage of the education sector the education minister Thakur S Powdyel yesterday asked the media if the stories it writes are sifted through the sieves of truth, goodness and necessity.
Reading a 600-year old story yesterday at the 12th meet the press session in Thimphu where, for a change, the cabinet questioned the media, Lyonpo asked if the media weighed its stories on these three elements.
Education, he said, has got very little space in the media. “What percentage of your space has education and teachers got, and what have you done to celebrate the work of teachers?” Lyonpo said. “It’s very important to ask ourselves what the important issues for the country are.”
Lyonpo suggested creating a third space, where journalists are able to exercise the freedom to tell the truth while, at the same time, be sensitive and mindful of the need to appreciate and respect the larger interests of the country.
Referring to the recent stories on teachers not allowed to move from the ministry, Lyonpo said the media has been “very busy at expanding the argument that there has been a decline in the morale of teachers.”
“We’re in a couple of days going to observe the national teacher’s day and the three articles that have come on April 26, 27 and 28 are extremely demoralising to the national teachers day,” Lyonpo said. “And this was from the paper that’s hailed as the national newspaper. Are these the kind of writings that we have for our teachers?”
Lyonpo said it’s not the very motivated who come into teaching, and that the ministry is working very hard to build the morale of the teachers, because they build the country’s future.
“We take a long time to build that faith, and somebody from the newspaper shoots a poison arrow, and that morale level dips, destroying all the efforts we’ve made,” the minister said. “These three stories, particularly, are coming at this time, which is so sensitive, and when we’re trying to celebrate the work done by the teachers. It’s in extremely bad taste and it’s as if there’s no editorial sensitivity.”
Lyonpo Thakur S Powdyel said, if this is the way teachers are treated, then no one has the moral right to expect good things from teachers.
“Somebody says we’re junk that have come through the backdoor, and some say we teachers are bonded labour. Is it necessary to say that out of our enthusiasm to be the first one to report the story? Is it true? Good? Necessary?” Lyonpo asked. “You have to tell the truth, but is there no area for sensitivity? We’d like to appeal to the media to be a little mindful.”