May the 2nd is marked as the teachers day in Bhutan. Aside from appreciating and displaying our gratitude to all our teachers past and present, this day is very important for one particular reason. Most countries have a driving force behind their education system and Bhutan has such a person on the success of its modern education and that person is His late Majesty the third king of Bhutan Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, also known fondly by all Bhutanese as the father of modern Bhutan. He is the reason first and foremost to celebrate and dedicate this special day.
The third king was in many ways a visionary king and you could say the seed of democracy was already planted by him during his reign and knew that the future survival of Bhutan may depend in allowing its people to govern themselves. That wish was fulfilled by his son the fourth king of Bhutan Jigme Singye Wangchuck despite the reluctance and uproar from the public to change. Bhutan became democratic, constitutional monarchy in 2008 with a population of no more than 700,000. The fifth king, Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, is the head of state, leader of the government is Tshering Tobgay, second ever Prime Minister, who succeeded Jigme Thinley in 2013.
The modern western education system was introduced to provide learning centers to study science, mathematics, modern farming techniques etc. whilst also preserving and promoting the monastic schools along with its culture and tradition. This was a calculated move which really accelerated the literacy and numeracy growth in Bhutan and today almost all of our youths are educated. His vision was to preserve the unique tradition and culture of Bhutan for the outside world to admire, by propagating through schools whilst also modernizing the education system.
He was a farsighted leader beyond his time to understand the future security of Bhutan. He secured Bhutan’s membership with the United Nations by becoming its 125th member in 1971. Furthermore, he made sure Bhutan’s relationship with its neighbouring countries were diversified. Today Bhutan enjoys these friendships with countries around the world and particularly with SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) nations.
Our unconditional gratitude and thanks, goes to His late Majesty the third king Jigme Dorji Wangchuck and to all the teachers of Bhutan past and present. Happy Teachers Day in Bhutan.