“If I ever have the opportunity to create a school for children, I want them to learn what it is to be human. The way things are manifesting now in the world, our children are forgetting that we are human beings, not only metaphorically but literally. Our children are beginning to act like robots … aim of this education is to refine ourselves so that we will see the world in a different way, so that we can help others, and through helping others make ourselves happy and content. Therefore, what we are learning is not to get jobs, but to refine and make ourselves elegant both outwardly and inwardly……emphasizing more on to be a good decent human being rather than rich or well-equipped human being. That nothing is independent, and this is very important information that the modern people have to have.” Some thoughts on education, Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche
SJI hosted a brainstorming on the future development of its education program, Lhomon Education (LME) from April 24-25, 2017 at Chokyi Gyatso Institute (CGI), Dewathang. Among the assembly of 46 were 4 education activists and reformers from India, 10 monastic teachers from CGI and as well as high-level players in education in Bhutan, including former education secretary and vice chancellor Dasho Pema Thinley, Dorji Thinley, President of Samtse College of Education, Kinga Drakpa, Director of Royal Education Council, Senior Lecturer Karma Nidup, Paro College of Education and Aum Phuntsho Wangmo, co-founder of Bhutan Observer. From India, SonamWangchuk from Ladakh, creator of SECMOL (Students’ Educational & Cultural Movement), which provides opportunities and education for those who have “failed” their class 10 exams; Pawan Gupta from Mussoorie, founder of several schools and SIDH (Society for Integrated Development of Himalayas); Ravi Gulati, founder of Manzil, a youth empowerment and learning centre in Delhi; and Deep Jyoti Sonu Brahma, founder of Farm2Food, which is engaged in bringing science to life through the creation of school gardens in Assam.
Ideas, information and experience were shared by our special guests and by all participants, many from Samdrup Jongkhar district. The LME team made a presentation about the curriculum and methods at LME, a holistic, integrated program based on GNH values and having contemplative and Buddhist principles at its heart.
The rich contributions have given us plenty of food for thought and ideas. A plan of action will be drawn for guidance and subsequent implementation. The brainstorming has established better understanding and appreciation for LME by the bigger actors in the education fraternity and the need to collaborate in building decent human beings. SJI plans to develop exchange programs with the institutions from India.