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December 11, 2009 By: Bridge to Bhutan Category: Education, Gross National Happiness, Sustainable Development

By 2013, Bhutan’s school system should be GNH [Gross National Happiness]-engendered

Educating for GNH 11 December, 2009 – Around 541 school principals and representatives of the two teacher colleges in Bhutan will meet on January 20 to ensure that GNH values and principles are brought into the school system starting from the 2010 academic year.

The prime minister, Lyonchhoen Jigmi Y Thinley, the education minister, the education secretary and director of the royal education council made this proposal yesterday. They would also be participating in the seven-day workshop with the principals next month.

This particular action plan is based on what was discussed in “educating for GNH workshop” this week, according to the executive director of GPI Atlantic, Ronald Colman, who is assisting the education ministry to host the workshop. (more…)

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Bringing GNH to schools

December 05, 2009 By: Bridge to Bhutan Category: Economy, Education, Gross National Happiness, Sustainable Development, Youth

5 December, 2009 – A class XI student in Thimphu, Dorji Tshomo Tshering, has been through this week reading up on gross national happiness (GNH) and the Bhutanese education system.

The 16-year-old science student is among the 28 Bhutanese participants and 25 international educators, who will take part in the six-day “Educating for GNH workshop” in Thimphu starting December 7.

Bhutanese and international participants will sit together to discuss very practically how GNH values can be brought into science, math, history, language and extra-curricular activities from pre-primary through post secondary education, according to education officials. (more…)

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Non Formal Education (NFE): A boon for the illiterates

September 11, 2009 By: Bridge to Bhutan Category: Education, Gross National Happiness, News, Rural Development, Sustainable Development

Energy consumptionThe Non-Formal Education (NFE) Programme has changed the lives of countless number of illiterate adults in rural areas. For its success, this year it was awarded the Honourable Mention of the UNESCO Confucius Prize for Literacy.

Ran Maya Subba, 12 came to Begana three years ago as a domestic helper to her aunt. She is from Patala village under Tsirang Dzongkhag. Shortly after her arrival, her aunt enrolled Ran Maya in the NFE centre at Begana.

Back in her village, she could not go to school as the nearest school is about three hours’ walk from her house.

She completed her post literacy course this year and is now attending the Khushuchen community primary school in class one. (more…)

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Shelter for homeless kids

August 26, 2009 By: Bridge to Bhutan Category: Education, Gross National Happiness, Rural Development, Sustainable Development, Youth

Project Hope
Not just a helping hand but also a bridge back to mainstream society

The National Commission for Women and Children (NCWC), with support from Save The Children fund (SCF) will set up Bhutan’s first transitional shelter for children, who are homeless, abused, neglected, emotionally disturbed or face other difficult circumstances.

Called ‘Project Hope – putting children first’, the need for such a shelter, NCWC officials said, was felt after seeing increasing numbers of children begging in different parts of Thimphu and boys and girls being exploited as cheap labour.

For instance, about 15 boys, some as young as five years, at the Thimphu crematorium, beg daily or dive into the river to pick up money thrown with cremation ashes. Some of these boys live in the neighbourhood, while others are orphans, who seek refuge with their relatives at night.

There is also an increasing number of children begging at the vegetable market on weekends, say Thimphu residents.

Children as young as 10, to survive, also work at motor vehicle workshops and restaurants in Thimphu. (more…)

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Long haul to Samcholing school

August 26, 2009 By: Bridge to Bhutan Category: Education, Gross National Happiness, Rural Development, Sustainable Development

Without boarding or teacher’s quarter facilities, it’s a 10 km hike back and forth

Going to school in remote Bhutan involves hours of walking. In Samcholing, Trongsa, it is not just some students either.

The 121 students and 10 teachers of the recently upgraded lower secondary school walk uphill for hours to their school without boarding or teacher’s quarter facilities. Located above the main Samcholing village, there is no settlement around for teachers to rent houses and all the 16 teaching and non-teaching staff walk five and half km every day to reach the school. Some students walk about 10 km.

The only female teacher in the school, Shoba G, stays in Kuengarabten. “I wake up at 5 am every morning and walk for an hour and a half to reach school,” she said.

The 2.7 km farm road that connects the school from the Trongsa-Zhemgang highway is not pliable.

Farmers of Samcholing, who live on a sharecropping system and own little land of their own, are not happy too. “We’re the least developed people and our children have no bordering facilities,” said a 52-year-old father. “If the school wasn’t in our village, our children would avail hostel facilities in Taktse middle secondary school,” said another villager. (more…)

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