Education: Inspired by the ideas contained in Bhutan’s former education minister Thakur S Powdyel’s book “My Green School”, a well-known Spanish social worker, educator and designer, the founder-director of the Education for Life Foundation, Dr Guillem Ferrer, has translated the work into two of the major languages of Spain, Spanish and Catalan.

Originally published in English in Bhutan, “My Green School” presents an outline of the elements of what could be an ideal school that includes the natural, social, cultural, intellectual, academic, aesthetic, spiritual and ethical or moral elements that essentially honour the critical claims of life in all its vital dimensions and aims to bring these to bear on the process of teaching and learning.

The education ministry launched a national education reform initiative called Educating for Gross National Happiness in 2010. “My Green School” was developed as a strategy to support the implementation of the programme. A recent study funded by the UNICEF discovered many positive changes in schools as a result of the new initiative.

The former minister was in Palma Mallorca, Spain, at the invitation of the Education for Life Foundation that hosted a mega conference of educators for over 600 teachers in a three-day event from October 3.

“When I read ‘My Green School’, I immediately realised that its message had to reach as many children in as many places as possible” said Prof Gunter Pauli, educator, innovator, entrepreneur and founder of The Blue Economy and initiator of the Zero Emissions Project. For Dr GuillemFerrer who undertook the difficult task of translating a book deeply steeped in Bhutanese values, “My Green School” has a special appeal and relevance to all educators and learners in my community. “The powerful ideas of the book had to be shared among educators in my island and beyond. It was a matter of deep joy for me to translate the book into Catalan and Spanish. It was a labour of love for a good cause”.

The former minister spoke on Bhutan’s development vision of Gross National Happiness and Green Schools at the conference. He also addressed political and business leaders, youth representatives and the community in Barcelona and Madrid.

“Mi Escuela Verde” and La Meva Escola Verde” were released during the conference. The Spanish version was done by Montse Gonzalez Vera and the Catalan version by Antonio Gonzalez. Famous Spanish designer, educator, and sustainable livelihood practitioner, Guillem Ferrer designed the book.

“It is deeply humbling and heartening to see that holistic development thinkers in an advanced first world country, living far from us, should find meaning and relevance in the work of a simple Bhutanese educator,” former minister Thakur S Powdyel said. “But it is more of an honour to our country beyond an acknowledgment of the work of an individual.

I would like to dedicate the Spanish and Catalan versions of “My Green School” to His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck, the primal source of the ideal of Gross National Happiness from which my book draws is inspiration, on the auspicious 60th birth anniversary of our beloved Druk Gyal Zhipa.”

By Staff Reporter