More than 150 students are attending a dharma programme at Dungsam Academy in Samdrupjongkhar.

Students of classes VIII to XII of 11 schools from Samdrupjongkhar and Pemagatshel are attending the programme, which is provided free of cost.

The programme, organised by the Institute of Science of Mind in Thimphu, aims to engage students meaningfully by teaching various Buddhist practices for over two weeks.

Zhung dratshang supports the programme that began on December 19.

Lopen Tenzin Wangchuk said the programme first began with students from Thimphu through Zhung dratshang’s funding, where students learn various Buddhist practices like cause and effect (Lay-Judrey), loyalty (Tha-damtsi) and cultures among others over two weeks.

Officials from various agencies also give talks on specific topics and over 460 students attended the programme until now.

He said the future of the country depends on youth and it lies in their thoughts to serve the people and nation in a better way. “It’s important to give religious related teachings and talks so that they can change their mind and thoughts.”

Tenzin Wangchuk said as expected, many students promised to quit alcohol and smoking among others after attending the programme.

He said that they collect feedback from students at the end of the programme and award certificate of appreciation. “We also contact with the concerned teachers and get feedbacks of those students who attended the programme frequently.”

A student, Kinzang Choden from Yelchen Central School, Pemagatshel, said she learned a lot on history, religion and culture, which she never heard before.

“Such programmes are not only important for students but it’s also equally important for parents and others,” she said.

Some participants said it would help if the ministry and concerned authorities could include some components of the programme in the curriculum.

The programme ends on December 31.

Kelzang Wangchuk | Samdrupjongkhar