Like the proverbial shit hitting the fan, the issue of teaching history in our native tongue, dzongkha, has come to haunt us again. And the most appalling thing of all is, the idea was discarded a few years ago as it was deemed ‘ineffective.’
Now, here again, there are a few dzongkhag enthusiasts who are rueing the fact that the national language is seeing a serious decline, both in quality and popularity, and that our children be made to learn history in dzongkha so that the national language gets the desired thrust to emerge itself as a vibrant lingo in our classrooms. Very noble indeed!
The rationale behind the move is noble. Our children will gradually learn to learn history in our native language. Dzongkha experts will no longer have to make a fuss about the language not getting enough attention in our classrooms. Everybody will live happily everafter…
We will be the biggest fools if we were to live in such utopian concepts. Especially given the complexity of grammar and word usage, which has been the most difficult for our students in learning the language. And, translating the myriad history texts into dzongkha will be a mammoth task, add to that the intricacy involved in coining new terms to our already rich directory of Martian-like words and phrases. A radio is a radio even if you are in living with the Eskimos in the distant north. Let us keep it that way.
The issue of concern here is will our students, children, be able to cope up with the change? Can we guarantee that teaching the subject in our native dzongkha will bring in the desired results? The answer is simple. It is a definite ‘No’ and we have experimented and experienced it earlier.
It would be wise on our part to first simplify the language make it reader friendly. To begin with, we can start training
professionals who can take the task of effectively imparting the subject and its values to our students. It should start from the lower classes and then gradually evolve, and not shoved all of a sudden into our already overworked classrooms. The environmental studies case is a good example of how imparting changes from the grassroots can help prevent the many ills related to implementing ad hoc policies and changes.
Let us not toy with our children’s future if we are not definite that a certain life-changing decision will, in no way, help add to their intellectual growth. Let us stop experimenting.
History remains, and will be, silent spectators to our glorious, inglorious, past. And the past will be us then.