Educating Bhutan – a Journal Conversation

The Druk Journal Conversation on the issue “Educating Bhutan” took place on July 29th with members of the Academic Board of the Royal University of Bhutan. The Conversation was introduced by the Editor of TDJ who summed up the questions, views, and analysis conveyed in the 18 articles on the theme “Educating Bhutan – Learning to Learn”. 

Three contributors to the edition of TDJ offered their thoughts on Educating for Happiness, the Education System, and the concept of Buddhist Education. 

Chencho Lhamo of BCMD shared points from her research on what happiness means to youth, reiterating the need to take learning out of the classroom and enable them to develop their critical thinking skills, and giving them the opportunity to apply their cognitive skills. Youth are happy when they are productive. They should pursue their interest.

The president of the CLCS, Lopon Lungten, said that Bhutan’s education system is paying too much attention to feeding the intellect and now’s the time to pay attention to what he called “pracademics” share some practical and academics. Buddhist education, he said, was the education of the self. 

Former education planner, Tenzing Choeda, pointed out the potential to expand Bhutan’s pool of teachers by exploring opportunities in the civil service with professionals who may be retiring. This was in the light of the current call for improving on teaching professionals. He said that many countries had gone through similar experiences but Bhutan never seems to learn. 

Presidents of colleges and RUB staff members joined the discussion on issues related to education, including the need to have more evidence-based quantitative research to feed into government policy. 

Dr Phangchung, head of research at the RUB said: Research and development is a challenge in Bhutan and planners don’t often have a culture of reading or writing. The discussion also noted a growing number of academic journals in the university offering opportunities for research.

RUB officials suggested the journal continue to look at education in future issues, for example, education and financing, evaluation of central schools, the proposed voucher system, and the purpose of education itself could be addressed.

The Druk Journal is encouraging colleges within the RUB to carry out regular discussions on different policy themes to encourage thinking and discourse on specific themes themes.