Creating Education Alternatives for Bhutan

 

The Issue: The exam-based education system in Bhutan, inherited from colonized India, is not adequately preparing Bhutanese youth for global change. A Thimphu high school student is more apt to choose a plastic bottle of artificial juice from Bangkok over a glass of locally pressed apple juice, the first cases of anorexia are surfacing in the country, boys are beginning to model behavior they've seen in Korean gangster films. Villagers are selling their land or going into debt in order to buy flashy cars, or simply letting the land go fallow.

Though it has been less than fifteen years since the country opened its doors to western media, the youth have quickly been indoctrinated by powerful consumerist messages that contradict the concept of Gross National Happiness (GNH). In many ways, the ancient cultural practices and Buddhist belief system of the Bhutanese people are essentially contemporary and progressive, but in the face of modern 'development', young Bhutanese are losing their connection to this wealth of tradition.

In collaboration with existing education institutions and in harmony with government goals, Lhomon Education seeks to create education alternatives that reinforce these ancient Bhutanese wisdom traditions while introducing the best of progressive sustainable development practices.

 


 

 

"The work you have set out to do under the overall guidance of Rinpoche is very unique and profound. I am inspired. This is going to be a very useful innovation and development, not just for monasteries and nonformal education but generally on how we educate our people." 

—Dasho Pema Thinley, Vice Chancellor of Royal University of Bhutan, speaking about Lhomon Education.

I am positive that any programme initiated under the guidance of Rinpoche will not be in vain....we are delighted that the Lhomon Education is established and would like to take this opportunity to thank both Rinpoche and all the volunteers who are serving the under-served. I am sure the Field Officer and Programme Officer who will attend your workshop will be in a position to both learn as well as share their experiences in working with rural communities, and in zeroing in on what worked for us and what did not. We are be happy to collaborate with Lhomon Education.
— Chime Paden Wangdi, Secretary General, Tarayana Foundation