2 August 2014

Green School for Green Bhutan

"Educating for Gross National Happiness is essentially an invitation to Education, to all of us educators, to look for and to discover soul behind our role. We are returning to the original and authentic purpose of education- a process that greatly draws the human mind to look for and to love what is true and good and beautiful and useful-values inherent in the goal of education. We are in effect, returning to the root of education-educare-meaning to draw out." ~ Former Lyonpo Thakhur Sigh Powdyel.
The concept of "Green School for Green Bhutan" was founded through the cemented alignment of His Majesty's vision and creative effort of Honourable Education Minister Thakhur S. Powdyel which emphasizes the basic required values that we must possess in order to smooth nation's path to nation's dream of GNH. Besides, it deals with the education through natural environment.

As mentioned by Albert Einstein, "Look deep into nature and then you will understand everything better," the nature has been the source of both life and wisdom since the birth of universe, therefore to grab its wisdom in much broader ways it has become a necessity to learn and explore the nature through our own senses and to experience it through our own experiences.

The youth is the engine of generation and they are the makers of  "My Life, My World" which reminds us that we must give them every basic bits and pieces of values required to build bold foundation. For that purpose, the school plays noteworthy roles in shaping and designing them through what we call Education which is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world, as described by Nelson Mandela. The school has been only the place where great numbers of youths have been trained and educated and it's only the place where youth spend most of its life. Taking advantage of this, it's not too late to infuse them with the wisdom of natural environment for it is of utmost important to let them know bout it and Green Schools in Bhutan have surfaced for Education through Environment.

Green School lives with these very two things: learning and conserving the natural environment through every possibilities which gave way to the invention of eight GNH indicators that bridges the gap between these two as close as possible. These eight indicators are eight greenery of GNH- Natural greenery, Academic greenery, Spiritual greenery, Aesthetic greenery, Social greenery, Moral greenery, Intellectual greenery and cultural greenery.

1. Natural/Environmental Greenery: Celebrating the vital link between the human and the natural.
Natural greenery means contributing ourselves in conservation and promotion of natural environment through plantation of saplings and seedlings in the environs of schools. In Bhutan June 2, is celebrated as Social Forestry Day in which the nation dedicates herself in plantation of zillions of saplings. We clean school campus every day through daily morning social works. Teachers and students usually involve in making flower and fruit gardens around the respective classrooms and areas which give lives to guests and visitors.

Especially, in boarder schools, the schools involve in making vegetable gardens in extensive ways through which the students are thoroughly taught about self reliance and the true hardships. Moreover, they get chances to linked directly with the environment and appreciate the beauty of nature.

2. Academic Greenery: Discovering the grace of great Ideas.
Academic greenery means ascertaining new ideas in most ideal ways through which we can move closer to 'Knowing Ourselves' which is acutely important for the perfect driving of life's journey. The soul of academic greenery is an eternal learning through efficient interaction believing in Albert Einstein's words; Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think.

The school is a perfect place where academic greenery has its full time engagement. Teachers and students interact actively and participate in learning by solving doubts and exchanging ideas. The school teaches basics of different subjects and the students get to know well and clear which will guide them to their future dreams and aspirations.

3. Spiritual Greenery: Looking into ourselves and connecting to a higher level of consciousness.
Spiritual greenery means knowing and believing that there is somebody(God) who is greater and superior than us observing our everyday deeds and then, always inclining towards wholesomeness. We pray to God and it is only through prayers that we are able to linked directly with them in which we get to taste their colossal wisdom.

We believe in Karma and its potential that what we are today is the result of our previous deeds and what we do today will define our future or "You are today where your thoughts have brought you; you will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you," as quoted by James Allen. Believing in Karmic potential encourages us to do good and kind to others for what we do to others, is doing to ourselves as every reactions follows its own actions.

4. Aesthetic Greenery: Appreciating the beautiful, the graceful and the tasteful.
Aesthetic greenery means Thomas Alva Edison's story; in 1914, a fire nearly destroyed his New Jersey laboratories, valuable records of his experiments and two million dollars worth of equipment were destroyed. Yet, as he stood in the midst of the destruction and surveyed the damage, the sixty-seven year old Edison determinedly said, "There is great value in disaster. All our mistakes are burned up. Thank God! We can start a new," or it simply means being a, "Tough-Minded Optimist," as titled by Norman Vincent Peale in one of his books.

We need to appreciate almost everything either good or bad, because everything has its own reason to present themselves, they have been sent to this universe with a reason in which if seen through life-affirming soul we will be able to extract best out of worst as said by Napoleon Hill in his book Think ad Grow Rich, "Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries it with the seed of an equal or greater benefits." We must be mentally be positive to face every situation.

5. Social Greenery: Learning to live together and learn together.
Social greenery means building a benevolent relationship between students and parents, students and teachers, parents and teachers and, school and community for the overall development. We need to link like those rings in a chain to strengthen ourselves and to face the responsibilities that we are given with. We need to cooperate among ourselves to achieve our prime purpose and desired goals.

In Bhutanese schools Parent-Teacher meeting is held twice or thrice a year together to discuss the progress of a child. In this, parents must think their child as theirs and teachers must think their students as theirs which means both of them must be honest and artless to know more about the student and plan for him/her.

6. Moral Greenery: Fostering goodness over cleverness, cooperation over competition, fair-play over victory at any cost.
Moral greenery means knowing what is good and bad, right ad wrong, merits and demerits and truth and falsehood.. Every one of us have rights to know moral values and every one must compulsorily know the moral values because without knowing it, it will be just like practising dharma by killing/harming others for the attainment of enlightenment in which we are never going to fulfil our destination. In other words, we are desiring to do right by doing wrong.

Moral values serve as a basic principles of guidance for students and parents-teachers act as a perfect leaders in leading them through sure and pure truths. If this is the case then school must act as a cow to convert grass into milk. It's good to experience that schools in bhutan have been the true source of moral values which have helped students to think for their lives. 

7. Intellectual Greenery: Cultivating the gifts of our minds.
Intellectual greenery means realising the power of our minds and implementing the power in  our daily days. We must know that our capabilities and abilities are judged not by how physically strong we are but it is truly judged by how mentally strong we are and our thoughts, we think.

What we have to know is our minds are as powerful as we think, if we direct and control this power then we will get everything we need because, "The mind is a universe, and it has the power to completely create any possibility," as quoth by Lionel Suggs. And to add Steve Jobs quote, "Don't let the noise of others opinions drown your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary."
Though the subject concerning mind is taught very rare in schools I feel it is important that we must know and feel  it, as mind is the host of thoughts and thoughts, they are the realities those we must experience in our usual life.

8. Cultural Greenery: Releasing the best of who we are and what we have through our body, speech and mind.
Culture greenery means contributing ourselves in preservation and promotion of our unique, old-aged culture by learning them and getting into them. They teach us the way we must live, the basic values that we must possess as a true citizen of the motherland such as how to dress, eat, dance, sing and about the rituals, languages, national symbols and the way to deal with respect to people.

At homes parents teach their children about the culture and the schools have been the true place for students to learn in many ways. To promote culture the school conducts various activities such as cultural activities, literary activities and significant day celebration where the whole school family members get involved and get to know more about our priced culture. During auspicious days, visiting to religious and sacred places have been common and teachers speak about the day through which students get to know more. As students have been experiencing national symbols since their childhood we do not worry much about not knowing these all basic jewels; national dress, flag, bird, animal and so on.

Bhutan has been constantly walking towards its giant and great goal; GNH since the articulateness of its goal by His Majesty fourth Druk Gyalpo. Now, invention of various strategies and arrangements have brought the nation closer and nearer to its dreams. I already knew that, through cooperate minds and by merging our strength, we will be able grab it and show the world that WE CAN.

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