Disclaimer :
This is a personal blog. Views and opinions expressed here are of author's and not intended to disgrace any religion, institution or individual. The writer(author) also admits that his views may not be necessarily same as those of others.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Knowledge Creation and the Public Response

One seemingly old yet undeniable proverb is: Knowledge is Power. Really, this saying is eternal; The message it carries lasts forever. Thus, it is very clear why everybody, educated and uneducated, at least feels the importance of education. Through the system of education,  knowledge and information is enhanced. But, again, system of education alone does not function without proper institution of learning. This must be the very reason why our fourth King Jime Singye Wangchuck issued Royal Charter of the Royal University of Bhutan on 18 April 2003 to have at least one highest learning institution. And the charter was the first step towards building our own vibrant university. The charter came purely out of the farsightedness of our concerned leader.

One of the two specific objectives [of the University] mentioned under Article 2 of the Charter is: to promote  and conduct research, to contribute to the creation of knowledge in an international context and to promote the transfer of knowledge of relevance to Bhutan
 Now, the two prominent questions are:
Is it really happening?
Are all the stakeholders (including public) responsive and cooperative in realising this objective ?

Well, the university since its inception has been doing its best. In order to enhance and develop Research culture, the university worked on research policies and guidelines; identified research centres;developed links for collaboration and partnership research. Also, publishes research periodicals and journals; conducts research conferences/seminars/workshops-eg: organises Faculty Research Meet. But, besides these, the colleges under the university also provide consultancy services to the public and corporate sectors. For instance, Gaeddu College has conducted Socioeconomic Impact Survey (2011)  for Wangchuk Hydro Power Project. And also carried out  the customer satisfaction research surveys  for few financial institutions. So, the issue of "Public Response" comes here, especially while doing research and trying to generate and create  new knowledge and information through personal interaction. [Sometimes it so happens that maintaining research etiquette is simply helpless when the respondents are  hardly interested and indifferent]

Let me now share some of the issues pertaining to research and public response. As a university student, I had an opportunity to participate in research survey as an enumerator . Example: among a few,  I helped interview general public for the Media Impact Survey (2008), Ministry of Information and Communications, and Study of Thimphu road traffic, Department of Urban Development and Engineering Services (2009) under Ministry of Work and Human Settlement. And most recently, Gaeddu College was awarded letter of award to conduct Customer Satisfaction survey (2012)  for two financial institutions.  That was again my opportunity. I chose to participate in one of the two research surveys. Our team comprises of 30 students and five members of faculty. While students collect views from 10,000 individual clients, our job as the participating faculty members was to interview managers of  a few selected corporate clients before we (faculty) analyse and prepare report.We are now, somehow, done with the interview. And through the interviews came experiences: good, not-so-good, okay, exciting, frustrating, enjoyable, tiresome and you name it.

The worst thing that we encountered was the kind-and-courteous lie. Initially, we really did not believe that some not-so-trustworthy leaders (be it Admin. Officer, Manager, Managing Director etc) existed . My goodness!!! How can we trust those who fail to deliver what they promised? Let me bring it to our context: The first day is simply  the "VISIT DAY". We informed the rationale behind our visit, convinced somehow. This is it, because we cannot get the required views/opinions and information on the same day. The BIG BOSS leaning against the rotating chair would kindly,  politely and courteously promise to do it by the next day or two-they will rather choose to have another appointment. So, see how the first day is not so satisfying.
The second day (according to the appointment made in the first day) is real FRUSTRATING day. Either the boss would not be present ( has gone to attend Lucrative workshop) or the questionnaire would not have even attended to as promised. S-I-G-H!!!! we take long, deep breathe here. Then may be Personal Assistant (PA) reminds her boss through phone and informs that the information would be sent through email. One last hope, is the third day. The third day could be called "HOPEFUL DAY" as we KEEP hoping that we would  receive information in our mail but only to be found full of junk mails. But, I must make it very clear here that not all leaders seem to be what I have just described. I have noticed at least a few.

If I were to give a comparative judgement-Who response well: Common men or Highly educated big fats? I would definitely rate that some educated lot  holding high positions in bureaucracies or companies are very, very cunning and not responsive. If and only if, we have just this kind of leaders, I really don't know if we can have new knowledge. One important purpose of the university can be at risk, so to say. Basically, commoners are way far straightforward. They say  "YES" for yes and "NO" for no. They do not keep us waiting; subconsciously they consider our time; they consider our resources-they do not say: Come tomorrow, come after three days, bla-bla bla...I have experienced their true courtesy. And I suppose our student enumerators have the same treatment without having to approach again and again unlike we faced  from so-called BOSS having to  drive, drive and drive back to their office and finally get frustrated.

At the end of the day, money matters. We are paid well, but I suppose we are not paid to visit again and again to the same office.

APOLOGY: sometimes those leaders could have been busy.Sorry for the disturbance. But ultimately, RESEARCH is for the good cause. The point anyway is that even if someone is busy, you can't afford to tell lies.

PS: I have written my views. This should be understood moderately and generally; and not to be taken personally.

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