05.09.2013 - UNESCO Office in Jakarta

UNESCO Jakarta Explores Bhutan's Gross National Happiness

Thimphu, Bhutan -- From 26 to 29 August, members of the UNESCO Jakarta's ESD unit conducted a mission to Bhutan to meet with education officials, visit schools and explore linkages between UNESCO's Education for Sustainable Development activities and the Bhutan's Gross National Happiness programme, a national initiative to develop a more holistic measure of social progress than economic growth.

On the first day, UNESCO Jakarta Bhutan National commission to UNESCO hosted a meeting at the Ministry of Education attended by key representatives from the Centre for Bhutan Studies, the Gross National Happiness Commission, the National Environmental Commission, the Ministry of Education and schools. In the meeting's opening remarks, Mr. Tshewang Tandin, Director General, Department of Adult and Higher Education noted the many similarities between ESD and GNH, remarking that both initiatives aim to promote positive behavior, attitude and values through education.

The UNESCO team also conducted visits to two schools to witness the practice of 'Education for GNH', a national initiative that aims to deliver the philosophy of GNH through education. At the first school, Yangchenphug Higher Secondary, ESD team members observed morning mediation and religious classes and met with school principals and teachers. The second school, Laptsakha Primary located in the district of Punakha, presented the UNESO staff with numerous examples of how GNH has been integrated into school practices, including school gardens, prayer wheels, cooking clubs, free haircut programmes, and regular cultural presentations.

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