How does changing a name help anything? Of course there is a traditional rural belief that when a child is sick for a long time changing the child’s name helps. Often the child ends up with better health and a very funny name. But what about an institution’s name?
I was sitting with my family by the river Pachhu, look at my former college from across the river. It’s a nice place be over the weekend, watching the majestic Dzong, the Ta Dzong, a beautiful bridge, a river and a beautiful college campus, not to mention the endless paddies on the other side.
I seriously don’t know what my former college was called when I was studying there; it could have been Paro College of Education (PCE) or National Institute of Education (NIE) but when I went home I had to tell my folks that I was studying in Teacher Training College (TTC) because that’s the only name they understood.
TTC was the founding name and it’s imprinted on the minds of everybody from that era, even the bridge that connected to airport road was named as TTC bridge. But over the time the college was renamed as NIE and everyone confused it with NIE in Samtse, because the founding name of Samtse College of Education was NIE.
The new name was slowly getting into the tongues of local people and perhaps people in the system but suddenly one day the name was changed yet again. This time it was called Paro College of Education. It has been at least ten years now but the new name is popular only inside the campus and on the paper. Imagine an institution changing its name three times in its short history, what’s so wrong with us? How credible are we?
In less than 20 years we have three different types of graduates from that same collage, one holding TTC certificate, another holding NIE certificate, and yet another holding PCE certificate. Technically speaking the former two groups of people are robbed of their history. Their college doesn’t exist. It’s understandable within the country but I wonder how it works in universities outside when they go for further studies.
That’s the name-changing syndrome my college suffered and the syndrome is widespread in our country, it begins from ministries down to small branch offices, schools to colleges, villages to gewogs, and even the words in the dictionary. What was your school called yesterday?
by Passang Tshering
The writer is a teacher at the Royal Academy in Paro