Thursday, October 20, 2011

Nonformal and Informal Education in Bhutan

As I was googling for a good image of Lama Shenphen that would illustrate what wonderful work he is doing here in Bhutan, I came across this document that I thought was very interesting. After the landmark Educating for GNH Conference in 2009, Lama participated in a workshop to discuss formal and nonformal education. A group of participants came up with some very specific recommendations.

In particular they emphasized that "learning often primarily occurs outside schools — informally in families, peer groups, and communities, and through the media, internet, and other means, and also ‘non-formally’ in courses such as Bhutan’s literacy programs geared to mothers in rural areas. Thus, ‘non-formal’ education is defined as coursework that occurs outside credentialed or degree-awarding institutional frameworks, while ‘informal’ education is defined as learning that occurs outside coursework altogether. The December workshop therefore emphasized the vital importance of extending the Educating for GNH initiative into the informal and formal education sectors, the Education Secretary gave an introductory presentation on this subject, and a breakout group focussed on this potential on Dec. 11. A summary of this group’s significant observations and recommendations is provided here."

For me, it's a must read. 
In particular I liked recommendation C:

c) The curricular needs of monastic communities should be examined and reviewed, with a view to utilizing aspects of the monastic curriculum more effectively in secular education and conversely to evaluate what aspects of the monastic curriculum may need modification and updating for present times. Students might be engaged in active surveys of the monastic and secular communities in an effort to bridge the present and growing gap between the two sets of curricula.

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