Gross National Happiness Commission (GNHC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the British Council on March 21 for the preparation of a master plan and blueprint, design of the buildings and site, and the exhibition spaces for Bhutan Development History Museum in the country.

British Council has granted an amount of 10,000 Great British Pounds (GBP) for the project.

Minister Counsellor for political and press in British High Commission in India, Kieran Drake, said that the meeting is about the contributions that the United Kingdom (UK) government has been making to Bhutan.

“The Chevening programme is the UK government’s flagship educational scholarship programme. The idea is to go to UK, learn, and share experiences, and then return to home countries and utilise their knowledge and experiences. It is one way to help contribute to human capital development of Bhutan and other countries.”

Chevening welcomes 1,600 students every year, he said, adding that about 15 Bhutanese have availed of the scholarship.

Kieran Drake said that representatives from UK government’s Fund Fleming will invest 1.5 Million Pounds in the healthcare system in the country.

Fleming Fund’s regional coordinator in South Asia, Vikas Aggarwal (PhD), said that the fund would be used to address the anti-microbial resistance issue in the country. “The fund primarily is for 24 countries and Bhutan is one of the countries. Anti-microbial resistance is not just limited to human health but it is also applicable to agriculture and other issues.”

He said that 1.5 million pounds would be used to build laboratory network and build human capacity.

“Based on the successful completion of the first grant, which will be for 18 months, Bhutan will be eligible for the next part of grant, which would be about 5 million pounds,” said Vikas Aggarwal.

Minister for Cultural Affairs, Alan Gemmell, said that the organisation could provide some technical assistance for the project. “The museum project will provide an opportunity to create more projects in the future.”

The UK government has also been working together with Royal Institute of Management (RIM) to facilitate International English Language Testing System (IELTS) for youth seeking opportunities and avenues to work and study abroad.

Rinchen Zangmo