Former Minister of Education in Bhutan from 2008 to 2013, Thakur S.Powdyel was the initiator, in 2010, of the reform called "Educating for Gross National Happiness" which aims to infuse this philosophy into the country's education system to enable it to penetrate, little by little, all of society. Her Manifesto for a school of ecology has just been translated into French by HDiffusion editions.
Thakur S. Powdyel evokes in this short invigorating essay his program (“Building Green Schools for a Green Bhutan”) and his principles of education which have been put in place in this small Himalayan country of 760 inhabitants wedged between China and India. But his message has a universal value. “Green is a color. It is the primary color of nature. But it is also a metaphor. Green represents everything that welcomes life in all its forms: humans, animals, plants and all other forms of life”, insists the author. Before hastening to point out that, in the current context marked by the question of whether human life will be able to last ecologically, “the color green must be the cardinal point that guides our minds, our hearts and our hands. »
The “green” schools he calls for must respect eight essential elements. Living in the middle of nature, in a green environment, is, he insists, an essential condition for the good development of the mind. One should be able to find on the campuses of these schools, he stresses, a wide variety of plants, trees, fruits, vegetables and flowers. A diversity of smells, shapes, sounds and objects intended to awaken our five senses which are so many windows on the world. Emphasis is also placed on social ecology ("We succeed together. Each of us must be the guardian of the other"), cultural ecology ("culture is a way of cultivating the refinement of , speech and action") and intellectual ecology ("the quality of the minds that we awaken in our places of education (Openness to new ideas. Positive thinking and constructive dialogue...) will determine the intellectual life of all the countries. ")
faith in education
The former minister, who became the president of the Royal College of Thimphu, located in the capital of Bhutan, also advocates a school where the teachers and the headteacher do not only teach what they know, seeking to raise the consciences, but also provide "their life experience, their passion for their subject and their faith in education as a vehicle for positive change". The chapter devoted to spiritual ecology is perhaps one of the strongest. Spiritual ecology, he writes, aims to honor the divine part in us, “that which connects us to what is greatest in the universe. For the spiritual life to flourish, he calls for the development of “spaces of silence and reflection in order to reconnect with life. »
Read this manifesto! Proof of the strength of its message, it began to spread throughout the world. It has already been translated and published in Spain, Germany, Japan and Vietnam, where its principles are taught at university. Other translations are in progress. Our breathless world aspires to draw up new perspectives, to build alternatives, a new paradigm of development in order to live better together, in peace with ourselves and with others. To achieve this, the educational principles it highlights are called upon to play an essential role.