ISSN: (Online) 2321 -4155
ISSN: (Print) 2320 -7000

JOURNAL OF INDIAN RESEARCH
VOLUME : 2, ISSUE : 1, April-June, 2014 (ISSN No. : 2321-4155)
 
CULTURAL CONTINUITY AND SCHOOL EDUCATION IN BHUTAN: CURRENT INITIATIVES, CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES
Dr. Dorji Thinley
 
ABSTRACT
Globalization can promote cultural understanding and empathy among nations and spread the values of democracy and diversity. It also - and paradoxically so - homogenizes cultures and causes the loss and disappearance of lesser known languages and their cultures, especially those that exist in the oral form. Fortunately in Bhutan, cultural preservation and promotion is pursued as one of the four pillars of the country’s development philosophy of Gross National Happiness (GNH). Government policy recognizes children and teachers as the custodians of culture and the catalysts of cultural transmission, respectively. They are therefore the key to addressing the cultural consequences of globalization and ensuring intergenerational continuity and influence of the Bhutanese cultural heritage. Policy envisages that the “country’s rich traditions, values, ideals and beliefs must ideally live on in the minds of Bhutanese youths [youth]”, so that these traditions continue to inspire their thoughts and actions and enable them to make “ethical and moral choices” in their lives (GNHC, 2009a, p. 20). Since teachers’ influence has a direct bearing on the students’ lives, their role is considered vital for instilling in young people an understanding and appreciation of Bhutanese culture and heritage through the curricula they study in school and university. These overarching policy visions influence the approach to school and tertiary education in Bhutan. The purpose of this paper is to highlight the interaction of culture and education in Bhutanese schools in light of current initiatives and to foster reflection and future action.
 
KEYWORD
children, culture, cultural preservation curriculum, diversity, education,globalization, Gross National Happiness (GNH), pedagogy, values.
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