Thinley Namgay  

Happiness and Well-being Project, coordinated by the Paro College of Education (PCE) for the nine colleges under the Royal University of Bhutan (RUB), is on track.

European Union (EU) has certified the overall progress of the project as ‘good’ in the last two reports.

Project Officer, Pelden Dorji Dadil Jamtsho, said: “Due to the good certification, we received budget on time which is crucial to carry out activities. “Fund is from EU’s Erasmus+ programme under its capacity-building project in the field of higher education.”

The total budget for the project is Euro 505,960. So far, for the last two pre-financing period, 90 percent of the budget has been received.

“Remaining budget will be disbursed soon,” said Pelden Dorji Dadil Jamtsho.

To enhance mental health, counselling and well-being support for students, the project has some specific mandates such as establishing a happiness and well-being centre in all the nine colleges, with lead centre at PCE with an extension at Samtse College of Education.

“We are in the final stage,” Pelden Dorji Dadil Jamtsho said. “So far training level-three has been completed at PCE and Thailand.”

The two-year project, which started in November 2018, was supposed to be completed by November this year. However, due to Covid-19 restrictions, the project completion dateline had to be postponed until November next year.

Some of the activities delayed, Pelden Dorji Dadil Jamtsho said, were proper setting up of ICT equipment and books at the centres, signing of final memorandum of understanding between 10 national stakeholders, further training and certification of trainees by the Bhutan Board of Certified Counsellors, among others.

He said that during this pandemic, time and stress management handouts were developed and yoga, meditation and other mindfulness activities were carried out in the colleges. “Counsellors are supporting frontline workers at Paro airport by printing and issuing brochures related to mental health for those who came from abroad.”

University of Birmingham, the UK, Institute University of Da Maia ISMAI, Portugal, and Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium are the project partners.