THAKUR S. POWDYEL
Image credit - www.bbs.bt

The second Annual Lecture organised by the Journal of Asian Art, Culture and Literature (JAACL) in association with the Asian Literary Society highlighted the Green School concept of former Bhutanese education minister Thakur S Powdyel.

The Lecture on the theme ‘My Green School: A Pathway for Restorative Learning’ was organised digitally on Monday.

Dr. Bishakha Sarma, Associate Editor, JAACL and administrator, Asia Literary Society, chaired the virtual session.

She set up the session defining restorative learning and Prof Powdyel’s vision on the same.

Prof Powdyel’s lecture essentially builds up from his book “My Green School: An Outline” and was inspired by Bhutan’s harmonious development vision of Gross National Happiness.

He propounds his realization that the notion and practice of education around the world today trivialises this most important instrument for human and societal flourishing to respond primarily to the call of the market and leaves out other vital elements that constitute the life of the learner and which invest the process of teaching and learning with meaning, purpose, and integrity.

The esteemed Guest Speaker further elucidated his idea behind ‘My Green School’.

He said it presents a holistic model of education and seeks to reinstate this most vital medium of public good to its essential function as the noble sector.

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“The Sherig (meaning ‘deep learning’) Mandala that lies at the heart of My Green School represents the eight vital elements, including Mother Nature, society, culture, intellect, academics, aesthetics, spirituality, and ethics, that have a compelling claim on education, education systems and practitioners of education to make the experience of learning authentic and fulfilling,” said Prof. Powdyel.

He discussed each one of them in detail in his lecture, said a press statement.

Professor Powdyel uses ‘Green’ as a metaphor for anything and everything that supports and sustains life in all its infinite variety – human, animal, plant, bird, reptiles – in the sea, on land, and in the air, and everywhere in between.

He suggested: “We can have a green school, green organizations, green economy, green business, green administrations, green policies, green legislature, green executive, green judiciary, green diplomacy, green farming, green minds, green outlook – anything that supports life and living.”

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Prof Powdyel’s core message of My Green School as a vital instrument for human and societal development within mutually supportive planetary boundaries is often hailed as an outstanding contribution to global education thought today.

Prof Powdyel served as Bhutan’s education minister from 2008-2013.

What is his sacred vision of ‘My Green School’?

“Our children and youth who go through this experience while at school, college or university and join the larger society upon graduation will release to the society the values and virtues outlined in the Mandala. They will help build a more harmonious society and a wiser nation and contribute to the making of a better world,” said Prof Powdyel.

The session ended with enthusiastic interactions from the writers and educators of the Asian Literary Society.

There is an overwhelming response from global viewers.

The writers of the Asian Literary Society feel inspired and support Prof. Powdyel’s approach to restorative learning through his philosophy as stated in My Green School.

Finally, Dr. Bishakha Sarma uplifted the spirits of the global viewers by singing a few lines from Michael Jackson’s Heal the World.

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