This week I am participating in a workshop run by Deborah Young of Naropa University for the Royal University of Bhutan at the Paro College of Education. The goal is “to identify the most deeply rooted values among the people of Bhutan, and to identify the gaps between those values and current educational practice.” RUB has a four-year plan to revamp all the programs at all the colleges here. It’s a huge task. RUB Lecturers will be doing a participatory action research project to determine exactly how best to design the colleges so that values and mindfulness become the trademark of Bhutanese education.
It’s been so interesting meeting and getting to know the participants who are all professors at one of Bhutan’s eleven colleges. They are the ones teaching the future leaders of Bhutan, particularly those who are teacher trainers. We’ve begun identifying the principles that are essential to a holistic education. One afternoon I was participating in a group activity and one of the teachers at my table was a linguistics and English teacher at Gaeddu Business College. We discussed how he could incorporate practicum into his curriculum and how he could integrate with other business subjects. This lead to a lively discussion about how the future of Bhutan’s business begins with these future business leaders in training. What a difference it would make if they received special sustainability training.
Bhutan’s colleges all reside under the Royal University of Bhutan: Royal Institute of Health Science, National Institute of Traditional Medicine, Sherubtse (Liberal Arts), Gaeddu, Institute of Language and Culture Studies, Jigme Namgyal Polytechnic, Paro College of Education, Samtse College of Education, the College of Science and Technology, the College of Natural Resources, and Royal Thimphu College (an affiliate college).