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A rare glimpse into another world: Teacher education and beyond in Bhutan

– seminar with Dr. Kinley Seden, Dr. Sonam Dakar and Dr. Sonam Rinchen, Royal University of Bhutan, Bhutan.

Info about event


Monday 2 October 2023,  at 14:00 - 15:30


Room D165, DPU, Tuborgvej 164, 2400 Copenhagen NV

Chair: Kari Kragh Blume Dahl

Bhutan is a tiny kingdom, situated on the border between China in the north and India in the south, in the Himalayan Mountains. Until the 1960s, the country was isolated. Buddhism is part of all aspects of everyday life in Bhutan and buddhist folklore and mythology is interwoven in everyday life and even school textbooks and museums describe shape-shifting demons and mythological animals in a kind of magical blend of fact and fiction. In the past 50 years, the Bhutanese government has chosen to measure progress in ways that go beyond Gross Domestic Product (GDP), instead focusing on Gross National Happiness (GNH) and emphasizing environmental protection. Bhutan is currently the only carbon-negative country in the world. In the session, issues of national identity, cultural meaning/s and the question of becoming ‘an educated person’ will be discussed in relation to the Bhutanese education system and, more specifically, teacher education. As part of the Bhutanese-Danish teacher education mobilization project, three teacher educators from Samtse College of Education at the Royal University of Bhutan will visit Denmark and present insights and perspectives on schools, teacher education and being an academic in a Bhutanese educational setting. Some of the questions that will be addressed in the session include:

  • Gross National Happiness as a political objective in the education system. How do everyday Buddhism and GNH play an active role in transforming the school and education system, and what does this mean for the students and teachers?
  • Student teachers and studying in a Bhutanese teacher education institution – learning processes, encounters and processes of cultural meaning-making. How do student teachers learn to become good teachers?
  • Academic work in Bhutan: challenges and possibilities in a university setting. How do academic personnel see their contribution to GNH?

The session will be organized as a dialogue in which it will be possible to discuss and ask questions about the Bhutanese education system, focusing on areas of cultural meaning, political objectives, and religious and historical encounters.

The lecture is open for all, but registration is necessary.