Archives

Category: Spring Edition

Humanity and Technology

Spring Edition , The Druk Journal talks to Gerd Leonhard, a well known Europeanfuturist, keynote speaker, author and filmmaker who specialises in the debate between humanity and technology. The Druk Journal: We Bhutanese are asking how far behind are we in technology? The digital literacy in our society is relatively low and...

A Pebble in the AI Race

Spring Edition , Bhutan is sometimes described as “a pebble between two boulders”, a small country caught between the two most populous nations on earth — India and China. This pebble is, however, about to be caught up in a vortex — the transformation of our economic, political and social orders by...

Privacy and Security

Spring Edition , When the internet was invented, privacy was not the main issue. Everyone was too nice, and behaved themselves. Those days, sadly, have gone. The internet that emerged in the 1960s and early 70s was primarily a place for academics, and those technical and curious enough to scale the barriers...

When Your Personal Data Becomes Everyone’s Property

Spring Edition , How the EU adopted a legal framework to protect their citizens’ personal data from being misused or carelessly handled, and to what extent Bhutan can benefit from these (hard earned) experiences. In May, 2018, the European Union implemented a common set of data protection laws — General Data Protection...

The Technology Trap

Spring Edition , An Unashamed Editorial Opinion It is possible that we are lost. From the outside looking in, an interested observer, lacking access to the privy conversation of the nation’s leadership, could be excused for thinking that the drive to bring technology to Bhutan resembles nothing so much as wandering in...

Good, Bad, Neither: Some Reflections on Technology and Culture

Spring Edition , “From the Buddhist point of view, there are two types of mechanisation which must be clearly distinguished — one that enhances a man’s skill and power, and one that turns the work of man over to a mechanical slave, leaving man in a position of having to serve the...

A Steep Learning Curve: Bhutanese on Social Media

Spring Edition , Teeming Millions As of March 2020, 3.8 billion people in the world (49 percent of 7.7 billion people) are on social media. Of the 7.7 billion, 2.4 billion people (33 percent) are on Facebook, the world’s most widely used social media platform. According to www.datareportal.com, an online digital data...

Science, Technology, and Innovation: Finding a Bhutanese Path

Spring Edition , A Case in Point for Developing Economies Amid changes and challenges lie opportunities. In the last 300 years, when human civilisation has undergone three industrial revolutions, unprecedented innovation has taken place at fundamental and applied levels. As our civilisation adopts and adapts to the 4th Industrial Revolution, largely leveraging...

Stepping Up Technology to Improve Health Care

Spring Edition , “…Technologies excite me, as they present immense opportunities for the future. Among the many countries in the world, those which prepare for this change and build the foundations to take advantage of such technological advancements will prosper and develop. Those which are not able to do so will invariably...

ICT Education in Bhutan’s Tertiary Institution

Spring Edition , Industry 4.0 The new Industrial Revolution has dawned. Industry 4.0 has brought about unprecedented changes across economies. Technological disruption in the market, through automation and artificial intelligence and the like, has machines replacing humans in unimaginable ways. Scholars predict that about “five million jobs will be lost within 2020”....

Integration of ICT in Bhutanese Schools – Common Obstacles and the Way Forward

Spring Edition , Introduction Information and Communications Technology (ICT) is crucial for realising the national vision of transforming Bhutan into an IT enabled knowledge based society. To realise this vision, the Royal Government of Bhutan launched the Chiphen Rigphel Project in 2010 with financial assistance of Nu 2.05 billion from the Government...

ICT in Bhutanese Education

Spring Edition , Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has brought significant changes in almost all aspects of our lives — more so in recent years — and its pace of development shows no sign of slowing down; it is indeed developing faster than ever before. During the 14th Convocation of the Royal...

Bhutan Plans a National Technology Drive – Are We Ready?

Spring Edition , Bhutan plans to move into a new era – a technology-driven phase of development and growth. Spurred by the rapid global momentum in technological innovation, the government is responding to His Majesty The King’s advice – on National Day, 2019 – to articulate a 21st century economic roadmap. So...

The Role of Thimphu TechPark in Bhutan’s Technological and Socio-economic Advancement

Spring Edition , Introduction Science and Technology Parks (STPs) have played an important role in the socio-economic progress and technological advancement of many countries. STPs originated from the US in the 1950s to meet the needs of entrepreneurially-minded academics, to exploit their research results commercially. During the 1990s, an increasing number of...

Digital Transformation for a Sustainable Bhutan

Spring Edition , Frontier Technologies and Digital Transformation for Sustainable Development: The case of Bhutan Introduction The emergence of frontier technologies — such as quantum computing, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of things (IoT), Big Data, 3D printing and Blockchain — have ignited a series of far-reaching transformations globally. Examples abound — autonomous...

Digital Drukyul – an ICT Masterplan for Bhutan

Spring Edition , The Beginning Bhutan began looking at Information Communication Technology as a means to improve public service delivery as early as 2004 when a policy document, the Bhutan InfoComm Policy and Strategy (BIPS), was developed by the Ministry of Information and Communications (MoIC) to guide ICT development in Bhutan. The...

Editorial

Spring Edition , Bhutan in the Age of Technology “The question I have is how are we able to leverage technology… As a small country, unencumbered by the complexities faced by much larger countries, we can do things faster and better than others. Our institutions can be smart, flexible, responsive, dynamic and...

People’s Democratic Party

Spring Edition , Education for the 21st century and beyond PDP’s Prayers for Education Bhutan’s story of education is one of success. It has given us a proud nation and talented people. We have achieved 74 percent literacy rate with 99.8 percent primary enrolment. Our education continues to be forward looking –...

Druk Phuensum Tshogpa

Spring Edition , The Removal of Cut off Point for Class X The cut off point is a certain percentage of marks set by the Bhutan Council for School Examination and Assessment (BCSEA) under the Ministry of Education for students sitting for the Bhutan Civil Service Examination (BCSE) in consonance with the...

Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa

Spring Edition , Re-visiting and re-envisioning Bhutan’s education system in the 21st century: Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa on its education pledges Education is free in Bhutan which invests a large amount of money in education. According to a report by the World Bank (2019), Bhutan’s spending on education constituted 5.1 percent of Gross...

Bhutan Kuen-Nyam Party

Spring Edition , Education – Transcending Your Own Domains The primary benefit of education, amongst a myriad of things, must be freedom. Freedom from poverty, freedom from ignorance, freedom from not having less, freedom from drudgery, emotional and psychological freedom, Freedom from the imagined order (social, economic and political constructs), and political ...

When Bhutanese Study Outside

Spring Edition , For centuries, Bhutan remained remote from the rest of the world due both to its mountainous topography and its desire to protect itself from outside influence and interference. But in the last half of the 20th century the country began to permit, as well as to seek, more international...

Implication of Bhutanese Studying Outside

Spring Edition , A Government Vision for Tertiary Education “Twenty years from now, we will be equipped with the full range of institutions required for the formation of the knowledge and skills required to sustain the nation’s further development. At the apex of our institutions of learning will be a well-equipped university...

Politics and Education Policy

Spring Edition , Broadly speaking, education, in itself, is a path towards a progressive human life. The Buddha viewed education as a path to human enlightenment, or liberation from repeated suffering. Thomas Jefferson, one of America’s eminent presidents, stated that education is central to creating an “enlightened citizenry… for the proper functioning...

Non-Formal Education – Learning Never Ceases

Spring Edition , Background The Non-Formal Education (NFE) programme in Bhutan was introduced in 1990. It was initiated by the National Women’s Association of Bhutan (NWAB) by Royal Command during the  53rd  National  Assembly,  mainly to empower Bhutanese women. Recognising its importance, the responsibility of overseeing the programme was entrusted to the...

Vocational Education in Bhutan

Spring Edition , Introduction The Royal Government of Bhutan accords the highest priority to the education sector as it believes that the country’s quality of health, prosperity, happiness and progression hinges on the quality of its education. In the early 1960s, modern education with English as the medium of instruction was introduced,...

The Value of Research Culture

Spring Edition , Introduction The two primary historic reasons for establishing institutions of higher education worldwide have been both a place of learning as well as a centre for generating new knowledge. This has been the case globally, and has its roots in a wide variety of philosophical traditions, from Buddhism to...

Mainstream School Education: a Critical Assessment

Spring Edition , The pursuit of quality education in Bhutan dates back to the beginning of modern education system itself. All the Five-Year Plans, without exception, have devoted a section to the subject. And yet, after 60 years of development and reforms, quality education remains as elusive as ever. The notion of...

Finland’s Success in Education

Spring Edition , On April 14, elections were held in Finland for the Parliament which is the supreme decision-making authority for national decision-making. The Finnish parliament is unicameral and has two hundred members who are elected for a term of four years. Currently, the members of the parliament belong to 11 parliamentary...

The Importance of Questioning

Spring Edition , As educators we want motivated students who aspire to learn, not just in schools, but throughout their lives. If we want our students to be motivated to learn and perform well, wherever they go and whatever they do, it is high time we assess why we send our children...

Looking at Education in Bhutan: a View from Afar

Spring Edition , I first worked in Bhutan in 1997 for the then Department of Education and have joined others in marvelling at the progress that has been made. Working alongside educators in the Ministry of Education and the two education colleges has been a privilege. Welcoming many Bhutanese to the University...

Educating for Happiness

Spring Edition , Introduction What is educating for happiness? It is certainly not cerebral studying of the four pillars, the nine domains, and the 72 plus indicators of Gross National Happiness (GNH). But many people may intuitively refer to the domains and pillars of GNH on encountering the above question. My doctoral...

Educating for Life

Spring Edition , “At this moment in time, circa 2018, it is clearer than ever that a new approach to education is key to the survival of the world in general and of Bhutan in particular. This is no exaggeration. The world’s current education system is not only outdated and even obsolete...

Real Learning Endangered

Spring Edition , Reflections on nature, sanity, and education from an ashamed Indian well-wisher One of the similies for the Buddha Nature, or the basic goodness, that we are all said to possess is like pure gold that has been lost by the side of the road which then gradually accumulates so...

Buddhist Education in the 21st Century

Spring Edition , Introduction The world has seen unprecedented progress in the fields of science and technology, transforming life on a scale unimaginable a few decades ago. Nations across the globe are exploring ways to enhance human life and experience through innovative economic and social activities. Universities and other educational institutions are...

Editorial

Spring Edition , Educating Bhutan – Nurturing a Society That Learns to Learn The theme for the Spring, 2019, issue of The Druk Journal reflects the long-term vision provided for Bhutan’s growth by His Majesty the King. On education, His Majesty said: “…as I serve my country, I have a number of...

Some Impact of Democratic Politics in Bhutan

Spring Edition , Democratic transition is usually a process of successive developments. Such was the case in Bhutan. Taking into account the context – the point from which it took off and the environment in which it took shape – where every initiative to modernise the country has emanated from the Kings....

How the Bhutanese Vote in Elections: a Broad Mindscape of the Bhutanese Voter

Spring Edition , The Family Factor As the 2008 general election loomed, a family of six in Baynangra village in Pemagatshel was forced to flee their home to a nearby cowshed. Seventyyear-old Lungten and his 66-year-old wife Phurpa had to take shelter in the cowshed, along with their four children, when their...

Bhutanese Women in Politics: Myths and Realities

Spring Edition , Policy and Legal Framework (At National and International Level) Bhutan has given due importance to increasing women’s participation in development activities, elected offices and decision-making positions. A review of the five-year plans indicate that, while a gender-neutral position had been maintained by the Government in its policies, plans and...

Democracy in Bhutan

Spring Edition , Too much has been written about democracy. Still, many in Bhutan (both before and after 2008) crave a closer understanding – an education – of the relevance of this new approach to public policy. In this life, and in this age, we need to hone our abilities for change...

Editorial

Spring Edition , Bhutan is approaching its third general election under the Constitution, which was adopted to establish a Democractic Constitutional Monarchy. The election being scheduled for late 2018, the Spring 2018 issue of The Druk Journal aims to contribute critically and constructively both to the 2018 elections and to the process...

Youth and Politics in an Evolving Democracy

Spring Edition , The Implications of Politicising Youth Come November this year, an estimated 432,000 Bhutanese citizens are eligible to go to the polls to elect the party which will form the government for the next five years. It is difficult to gauge how many will actually do so but the question...

Political Parties in the 21st Century

Spring Edition , How to Address the Challenges? Once upon a time My mother was born into a social democratic family, just like her father. She had been a party member since she was old enough to vote, and she voted for the party in every election. I once asked her if...

The Bhutanese Politicians

Spring Edition , It was almost typical in the past for a family in the backwoods of the country to occasionally greet “government people” at their doors. It was either the agriculture extension officer communicating about the use of fertilisers, or the village health worker conveying health and sanitation tips, or the...

National Interest Versus Party Interest: What Former Chimis Think of Parliamentary Discussions

Spring Edition , Norzang, after returning from Thimphu, tells the farmers in his remote village that members of ruling and opposition parties “argue like a married couple” during the live broadcast of National Assembly (NA) sessions. The villagers, who do not have television to watch the deliberations and news, say that since...

Socio-economic Status and Electoral Participation in Bhutan

Spring Edition , Bhutan transitioned to a Democratic Constitutional Monarchy in 2008 and conducted its first parliamentary elections. In the words of former Chief Justice of Bhutan, Sonam Tobgye, the chairman of the then Constitution Drafting Committee, ‘Democracy in Bhutan is truly a result of the desire, aspiration and complete commitment of...

People’s Democratic Party

Spring Edition , On 1st September 2007, People’s Democratic Party (PDP) got registered as the first political party in the country. As we celebrate our 10-year journey and service to Tsa-wa-Sum, it gives us an opportunity to reflect on our past and look at our present and the future: where we came...

Druk Phuensum Tshogpa

Spring Edition , Introduction Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) was founded in 2007 and is one of the two oldest political parties in the country. DPT is dedicated to realising the vision of our Kings. It is committed to the creation of a unique democratic culture, the fabric of which is woven from...

The Thromde Elections: an Inadequate Constituency?

Spring Edition , Whose City? Whose Thrompon? Last summer, like in most summers, numerous potholes appeared in the stretch of road below the Kuensel office at Changzamtog. When it rained, water overflowed from the storm drainage and poured onto the road, filling the potholes. It became a trap for motorists. Those plying...

Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa

Spring Edition , The Birth of Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa When democracy came to Bhutan in 2008, it began on a hopeful note. It came as a gift from the Golden Throne to the people of Bhutan. As was articulated by His Majesty The King to the newly elected members of the National...

Social Media in Elections: What have We Wrought?

Spring Edition , Social Media — a group of online tools that enable users to create and share content and to participate in social networking — has made citizen participation in determining their future a real possibility. But in a very short period of time social media, most associated with Facebook and...

The Micro Effect of Democratisation in Rural Bhutan

Spring Edition , Introduction Bhutan made its transition from an absolute Monarchy to a Democratic Constitutional Monarchy in 2008. Since then, I have noticed a change in the community relations among rural voters in my own community in Radhi-Sakteng, in eastern Bhutan. The Radhi-Sakteng constituency has four gewogs1: Radhi, Phongmey, Merak and...

Social Media and Democracy: Is Something Missing?

Spring Edition , Much has been written about the impact of social media on democracy, especially in recent years. In part, this explosion of commentary on the role of social media came about as the result of several very high-profile elections, among them the presidential election in the United States, that some...

Dhar from the Throne: an Honour and a Responsibility

Spring Edition , The 203 gups (heads of county) who received the Dhar (scarf symbolising confer of rank) from His Majesty The King in October 2016, are negotiating a new era in Bhutanese politics. As one gup, a veteran of more than 20 years as a village headman, described it: “The situation...

Dr Karma Phuntsho On Bhutanese Democracy

Spring Edition , After two successive elections and governments, Dr Karma Phuntsho shares some of his reflections on Bhutan’s democracy and electoral practices with The Druk Journal. The Druk Journal: How would you rate the introduction of democracy to Bhutan in the past 10 years? Dr Karma Phuntsho: Democracy was not introduced...

The Nation, the State, the Nation-State: How do we talk about what we are?

Spring Edition , You can download this Article as a PDF by clicking here Let us be very frank. “Identity” does not really exist, at least not as an external object, out there somewhere in material reality. This may seem like a harsh statement to some, but think about it! If I...

Who is a Bhutanese?

Spring Edition , You can download this Article as a PDF by clicking here I recall that it was in New York in 1980, when I was Bhutan’s permanent representative and ambassador to the United Nations that Dale Djerassi1 interviewed me for the 1982 PBS documentary, Bhutan- A Strange Survival. One of the...

What makes you not a Bhutanese?

Spring Edition , You can download this Article as a PDF by clicking here What does it mean to be Bhutanese, or not? Is there more to it than just being born in Bhutan of Bhutanese parents? I have a friend who was not born in Bhutan and whose parents are not Bhutanese,...

What is the “Bhutanese-ness” of the Bhutanese people?

Spring Edition , You can download this Article as a PDF by clicking here World leaders, anthropologists, philosophers, stateless people around the world have pondered over the question of national identity, trying to define and re-define it at different times, under different circumstances, in different perspectives. Many believe that it is not really...

What would a 21st century Bhutanese identity be?

Spring Edition , You can download this Article as a PDF by clicking here Our inheritance Bhutan’s journey from the 20th into the 21st century is one that the Bhutanese take great pride in. Our Fourth Druk Gyalpo regarded as a wise, skillful and compassionate leader worked tirelessly to build on the foundations...

Bhutan as recognised by history

Spring Edition , You can download this Article as a PDF by clicking here Is there such a thing as a Bhutanese “national identity?” If so, how can it be defined, and how did it arise? Of related interest is the question of governance. Over the past thousand years or so, Bhutan has...

The cultural construction of Bhutan: an unfinished story

Spring Edition , You can download this Article as a PDF by clicking here Our future sovereignty as a nation-state will continue to depend upon the articulation of a cultural imperative that asserts our distinctive Bhutanese identity.* Most Bhutanese would be familiar with the postulation that Bhutan’s survival as an independent nation rests...

Language and identity in Bhutan

Spring Edition , You can download this Article as a PDF by clicking here In 1812, the famous linguist Wilhelm von Humboldt wrote that the difference between nations is most clearly manifest in their languages. In 1856, August Pott wrote that language is the key trait defining nationhood. In 1987, Emil Cioran wrote...

Beyond cultural preservation: contemporary art and identity in Bhutan

Spring Edition , You can download this Article as a PDF by clicking here “While a few may have succeeded to integrate the two seamlessly, thus having the best of both worlds, most modern Bhutanese are in a cultural limbo, having relinquished the old but not fully reached the new.” – The History...

Manufacturing Singapore

Spring Edition , You can download this Article as a PDF by clicking here At Singapore’s Changi international airport, a tourist from Delhi gets into a local yellow taxi for a ride into one of the city’s many luxurious hotels. Eager to learn more about the island nation known as a marvel of...

What does it mean to be an Indian?

Spring Edition , You can download this Article as a PDF by clicking here “Ind” or “Sindh-stan” was a Greek and Persian construct referring to the river Indus as a territorial marker. Historians tell us that it was only after the late 14th century that residents of India began to refer to India...

Nationalism in a new republic

Spring Edition , You can download this Article as a PDF by clicking here “A yam between two stones” is how Nepal’s founding monarch, Prithvi Narayan Shah, described the unified kingdom he forged out of dozens of feuding Himalayan principalities in the 18th century. Even back then, it was evident to the king...

Being a Bhutanese means being a GNH citizen

Spring Edition , You can download this Article as a PDF by clicking here There is a totally different level of pride, perhaps the best kind, that I feel when I call myself Bhutanese. It is a beautiful feeling one gets when one thinks about the best thing in life. It makes us...

What it means to be Bhutanese

Spring Edition , You can download this Article as a PDF by clicking here “We Bhutanese are an endangered species,” my friend, the former Gelephu National Council Member, is fond of saying. He means that partly in jest. But, in many ways, I find that to be true indeed. In an increasingly complex...

What does it mean to be a Bhutanese?

Spring Edition , You can download this Article as a PDF by clicking here Being born in Bhutan is not enough for an individual to call himself or herself a Bhutanese. One has to have all the moral values and attitudes that make the Bhutanese distinct from any other people in the world....

My identity as a person and as a Bhutanese

Spring Edition , You can download this Article as a PDF by clicking here Strictly speaking, from a Buddhist philosophical point of view, the conception that “I” am Dorji Wangchuk or that Bhutan is “my” country would be a misconception or misconstruction. This is because although the historical Buddha himself seems to have...

Living the Bhutanese life abroad

Spring Edition , You can download this Article as a PDF by clicking here I am a Bhutanese woman living abroad. Without trying to make the statement sound like an epiphany, I know my story is the story of many other Bhutanese women who have left our country deep in the mountains of...

I guess you can never really leave

Spring Edition , You can download this Article as a PDF by clicking here “Where are you from?” I am often asked. “Bhutan,” I reply. “Oh, the happy country?” That is what most people know of Bhutan. I’m pleased and also a little embarrassed at the same time. The aspiration of Gross National...

The way we think matters more

Spring Edition , You can download this Article as a PDF by clicking here Sixty-five-year-old Lopon Kunzang Thinley has been a researcher and writer for 31 years. He is the author of four dictionaries, including Bhutan’s first Dzongkha dictionary, and some 20 notable books. After passing out of the erstwhile Rigzhung Lobdra in...

Conversation with the Bhutanese farmer

Spring Edition , You can download this Article as a PDF by clicking here Chimmi Dem, 57, is a Bhutanese farmer living in a village not far from Thimphu. This interview is extracted from my conversations with her. Q. What is life like in the village these days?          ...

Religious History of the South: a very late review

Spring Edition , You can download this Article as a PDF by clicking here Sometime in the 10th month of Iron Hog year, 1731, Tenzin Chogyal, the prelate who later became the 10th Chief Abbot of Bhutan, offered a cup of fine tea before the physical remains of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the founder...

The History of Bhutan: A review

Spring Edition , You can download this Article as a PDF by clicking here This is a big book in every way: long, heavy, expensive, and content full. But far more than that, it is a big book because of the role it should, indeed must, play in the history of Bhutan itself....