A major meeting of top Bhutanese and international educators, including the country’s Education Minister and Secretary, gathered in Thimphu in December 2009 to bring Gross National Happiness into Bhutan’s educational system. They declared:
“Bhutan's entire educational system will effectively cultivate GNH principles and values, including:
“Bhutanese youth and citizens…will see clearly the interconnected nature of reality and understand the full benefits and costs of their actions. They will not be trapped by the lure of materialism, and will care deeply for others and for the natural world.”
Bhutan has yet to revamp its educational curricula according to these objectives. But Lho Mon Education (LME), set up by Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche in 2011, and with 47 students now enrolled, is determined to put these principles into action and to create a true local laboratory for GNH education at Chokyi Gyatso Institute, Dewathang.
By 2018 we intend to have excellent, tried and tested GNH-based curricular units and lesson plans ready to offer the Ministry of Education and schools nationwide.
We would like to see more connected, actively-involved, life-long learners grounded in Bhutan's ancient wisdom tradition, principles, values, and practices.
As Bhutan’s former Prime Minister expressed about the goals of GNH-based education:
“We know that what we want to see is very different from the economic animal that conventional educational systems so often seem to nurture, where success is measured by money, career, acquisition, fame, power, and self-aggrandizement.
“Knowing how different our vision and goals are, we know with certainty that what we want to see is nothing less than transformative — graduates who are genuine human beings, realizing their full and true potential, caring for others—including other species—, ecologically literate, contemplative as well as analytical in their understanding of the world, free of greed and without excessive desires; knowing, understanding, and appreciating completely that they are not separate from the natural world and from others; — in sum manifesting their humanity fully.
“I suppose the ultimate test is that a GNH-inspired education graduate will sleep soundly and happily at the end of each day knowing that she or he has given all to their families, to their communities, and to the world. If we and our young do not have this firm commitment, there is literally no future. In the end, a GNH-educated graduate will have no doubt that his or her happiness derives only from contributing to the happiness of others.”
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