The Dzongkha debate

The National Council has reignited the Dzongkha debate by asking the Home Minister on why History and Geography cannot be taught in Dzongkha and the need for a National Language Act.

The NC has done a lot of important national service through its various legislations and resolutions.

However, this is one area where the NC needs to tread carefully, otherwise there can be long lasting implications.

It has been well established that the attempt to teach History and Geography in Dzongkha will not only not help Dzongkha, but both these subjects will also suffer in the end.

The problem is not that not enough subjects are being taught in the national language, but that students are generally weak in it as an academic subject.

There is no point in weakening other subjects to promote it academically.

An example of this can be seen in the print media where an old NA resolution had asked that all print media including English newspapers carry a Dzongkha version with the aim of promoting Dzongkha.

This has definitely not helped promote Dzongkha and is instead a burden on the private media.

The NC’s fears are also not founded on facts.

We are in fact in the golden age of Dzongkha as a national dialect. It is not only taught in all schools, but it is being popularized in popular culture through films, music, cartoons etc and this is the way to go. Dzongkha has never been stronger and never more loved and cherished.

The way forward is make the language friendlier for the youth and to let them take ownership of it, instead of making it seem like an imposition.

Tough laws and forcing other subjects to be taught in Dzongkha will be the worst ways possible to promote the national language in this day and age.

Ironically, the Parliament is often accused of making Dzongkha more complex then it should be through new and formalized words.

A warm smile is the universal language of kindness.
William Arthur Ward

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