Lhomon Education (LME) is a grassroots initiative developing an innovative curriculum for Bhutanese students in a monastic setting.
“Most of modern education is focused on having instead of being,” said Dawa Drukpa, head teacher at LME’s pilot project at Chökyi Gyatso Institute (CGI), in Dewathang, East Bhutan. “LME’s approach is different. We try to focus on the importance of one’s own mind and state of being: kindness, compassion, helping, and contributing to society.”
The goal of the CGI pilot is to create a set of 20 secular lessons that can be used as a model for gross national happiness (GNH) infused education and implemented in monasteries and other schools in Bhutan. These lessons will incorporate many of the learning objectives found in the standard Bhutanese educational system, such as math, science, social science, technology, and health.
Jackie Mitchell, curriculum developer, describes the impact of reaching those goals. “The monks should have a decent education and be able to fit into the world outside the monastic situation, when and if they leave. With the Lhomon curriculum, we give them life skills, values, and an understanding of how to be in the world. They’re not going to be misfits when they speak to other young people their own age outside.
“I also think that they can become real role models for other young people in the community. That is a really important thing here in Bhutan with young people being drawn away from their communities and becoming so rootless. The aspiration for these young people is to create the inspiration and values that connect people to themselves and to what is valuable in the world, and therefore stop them running after this materialistic carrot that is being dangled through social media and television.”
LME’s goal is to see more connected, involved life-long learners, grounded in Bhutan’s ancient wisdom traditions, principles, values, and practices. To do this, LME has identified five key competencies to help students live meaningfully and contribute to a well-functioning society: Thinking creatively and logically; participating and contributing; managing the self; relating to others; and using language, symbols, and texts.