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Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Green School in Green Bhutan



At one time of our educational voyage, the concept of ‘Green School in Green Bhutan’ was so popularly branded. It was the most decorated educational endeavor that glamorously pledged the Ministry of Education’s mission on educating for Gross National Happiness - an undertaking that targeted to reclaim the core objective of education.
Steered by the former Education Minister Thakur Singh Powdyel, it was in its truest sense a noble educational enterprise embedded into the bone marrow of Education Ministry to channel its drive of educating for Gross National Happiness - the brainchild of His Majesty the 4th Druk Gyalpo Jigme Singye Wangchuck. Because of its magnificent input of concepts, it was inspiring to learn that “My Green School”, a book authored by the ex-minister is translated into Spanish and Catalan, the Spain’s two major languages by one of the Spanish’s educator and translator. Loads of appreciations to the ex-minister for secreting pheromones of such green ideas, inspiring the little world around Bhutan to follow in tow. 

While the concept of Green School in Green Bhutan is familiar, through the lens of my limited understanding, I wanted to reiterate the rosary of its brilliant dimensions. I vividly remember once a grade 7 student who attempted English essay in the school where I worked 5 years ago wrote, “Green school is a school full of green trees and plants”, and nothing more.
Well, it’s appreciative of him though, for he knew at least one aspect of green school, i.e. Natural Greenery. In fact, Green School in Green Bhutan consists of 8 components as follows:
1. Natural Greenery
2. Intellectual Greenery
3. Academic Greenery
4. Social Greenery
5. Cultural Greenery
6. Spiritual Greenery
7. Aesthetic Greenery
8. Moral Greenery.
1. Natural Greenery
Obviously, among all the components, natural greenery is critical and crucial, in a sense that it presents the general blueprint of how the school is. It will display the natural atmosphere and largely portray the physical arrangement of the school. A naturally green school is apparently neat and clean, decorated with perennial ornamental plants and trees. It is a zone free of litters, plastics or any non-degradable wastes. It is such a natural paradise that does not tolerate any substance abuses, graffiti or junk foods. A natural greenery can promote the values like beauty, cleanliness, purity, aesthetic, naturalistic, respect to nature, love, carefulness, sense of belonging, peace, harmony, sustainability etc.
2. Intellectual Greenery
Through the intellectual greenery, we know and realize the sole purpose of coming to the school, i.e. to cultivate our mind. The fresh land of our mind should be well equipped and prepared to grow and absorb good learning, because a mind sans a good learning can be a devil’s workshop. The arms of our mind should embrace all sorts of virtuous ideas, moral values and innovative knowledge and it flourish irrespective of any seasons. Otherwise, a mind that is intellectually not challenged can largely defeat our primary goal of coming to the school. An intellectually greenery can enhance the values such as thoughtfulness, determination, purpose, readiness, confidence, attention, concentration, contemplation, usefulness, helpfulness, worth and utility.
3. Academic Greenery 
With academic greenery, one is able to appreciate the grace of ideas presented by various scientists, academicians, philosophers, thinkers, educators, poets and authors. Or else, one may not know why we should learn Science, Economics or literature, which are in fact the vast ocean of ideas. The ideas in the theories of science, the fats in the curry of literature and the brain in the skull of economics are necessary and useful in our generations to grow and get ourselves informed. So, such trend of appreciations for the efforts put in by various thinkers must be kept alive and academic greenery is one powerful gene to sustain this inheritance, for many generations to come. An academically green learners will be able a vessel full of values such as appreciations, admiration, thankfulness, respect, honor, esteem, enjoyment, pleasure, happiness, satisfaction and delight among many others.      
4. Social Greenery
As school is a niche that houses a group of educators and learners having stature of intelligence and caliber that are poles apart. It is not merely a habitat that erects numerous classrooms and playfields. A huge community is thus built, with the accommodation of diverse learners and educators. A wide spectrum of values and beliefs are shared almost every day, and useful values are mutually appreciated and practiced. The reasons of being together peacefully and dependent of each other is collectively sought and pursued. The success of anybody is a joy of teamwork while, the failure and sickness for any single individual is also a disaster for the team as well. Subsequently, with the feathers of social greenery, we fly together to confront the tsunami of obstacle that are of any magnitude. Such aspect of greenery enhances
Unity, sharing, teamwork, harmony, peace, togetherness, commonness, oneness, cooperation, tranquility, serenity and composure etc.     
5. Cultural Greenery
Culture, be it tangible or intangible, is often an expression to showcase how we are and the way we do things. These expressions are generally conveyed in the way we dress, talk, belief, pray or conduct rituals. Since culture is an entity flavored with beauty and creative dimensions, a school has to offer a platform to stage its creativity, gracefulness and uniqueness to the learners of today, who will be the custodians of our own culture tomorrow. A culturally sound learners will encompass a high degree of civility, sense of belonging and uphold social conventions. Thus, the cultural greenery will ensure that our youths practice the standard and conventional form of cultural practices on the ground of commonality and pass it green to generations manifold. Values that are often groomed due to cultural greenery are identity, personality, character, uniqueness, individuality, distinctiveness, tranquility, sovereignty, autonomy, comfort, peace and harmony.
6. Spiritual Greenery
One commonness in all the Bhutanese (being Buddhists should I say?) is that we all possess that filament of spirituality. We never belief that we are just a complete being. We are grounded by a belief that there are infinite other beings, above and beyond, superior and powerful, capable and intellectually gifted than us without whose backup can’t make us achieve and realize our dreams. Such rational thinking consciously remind us to nurse and tend the spiritual relationship and ennoble it. Spiritual greenery will help to cultivate the values like belief, relation, strength, dependence, trust, hope, faith, devotion, loyalty, sincerity, allegiance, conviction, confidence and reliance.
7. Aesthetic Greenery
An aesthetically green person will be able to distinguish clearly between the appearance and the reality. The dominance of technology has flattered this world by making ugly beautiful, dubious genuine and uncertain certain. But with the insights of aesthetic greenery, we will be able to truly appreciate the real good and beautiful, and boycott the unwanted and unworthy. By this gene, we would learn to incline our mind towards doing morally good things and put an end to engage in immoral practices. Such greenery will instill in us the values like truth, honesty, integrity, appreciation, selection, insight, admiration, adoration, pleasant, satisfaction, contentment, fulfillment, and satiation.         
8. Moral Greenery.
The compass of a moral greenery can enable us to navigate the good from bad, right from wrong, or true from false before we submit our judgement in doing things. The rudder of such aspect of greenery can help to sail the boat of our mind into the sea of growing divinely charisma and noble values that are one critical trait in generating a productive citizenry. A morally green learners possess a high sense of judgement, analysis, reasoning, logic, interpretation, illumination and enlightenment.
Since school is one formal institution to foster such values into the mind of our future generations, the education we provide, must encompass such aspects of greenery. Our kind of education expects to instill those green values, generations upon generations, and let it be green forever. And the flame of this noble expectation can be kept burning for a long time only with the wick of Green School in Green Bhutan.
“Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather make man a more clever devil”- C.S.Lewis

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