Bhutan mulling Buddhism in colleges

PTI, May 21, 2009

Timphu, Bhutan -- Bhutan is mulling to introduce Buddhism in colleges as it feels it is necessary for the education system of a country with a Buddhist culture.

The Royal University of Bhutan (RUB) in collaboration with the 'dratshang' or central monastic body may include Buddhism in colleges.

RUB is also exploring avenues to establish a collaborative relationship with the US-based Naropa University.

Authorities of both the universities have discussed the possibility of introducing Buddhist-based counselling
programmes for teachers at the Samtse College of Education.

"If it works, we will concretise this programme and introduce it in selected colleges," said RUB Vice Chancellor Pema Thinley.

If the experiment is successful, Samtse College of Education will be the first to integrate the course from where graduate teachers could pass it on to students.

Dratshang representative Gyembo said such programmes would benefit youth because they would understand what they practice.

He said the dratshang was already working closely with RUB to bring such programmes to the youth for some time and would continue to do so.

Thinley said the Bhutanese university education curriculum lacked such programmes.

Introducing such courses, he said, was central to the education system of a country with a Buddhist culture.

Naropa University is a Buddhist-inspired university that incorporates Buddhist practices, such as meditation, to
enhance traditional teaching methods.

"What they're doing is exciting. It's in line with our development philosophy of gross national happiness," said Thinley.

"Any collaboration would include teacher and student exchanges, training of Bhutanese teachers at Naropa, and the sharing of educational material".