October 21, 2008
For immediate release
UC Santa Barbara’s Gevirtz School hosted members from the Royal Education Council of Bhutan October 15-18. This visit heralded the formation of the UCSB-Bhutan Partnership in Education that will lead to Gevirtz School Teacher Education Program graduates going to Bhutan to teach in primary and secondary schools in the capital city of Thimphu for up to two years. As the partnership progresses, professors from UCSB will go to Bhutan to teach while graduate students from Bhutan will come to UC Santa Barbara to study. This partnership is one more example of the Gevirtz School diversifying its research and impact by strengthening its bonds with global partners in counties like Taiwan, Guatemala, Brazil, and Finland.
“The 21st century demands high levels of cultural competence. A clear way to understand the world is to interact with global partners on important tasks,” says Dean Jane Close Conoley. “We will be involved in a historic transformation of the Bhutanese educational system to retain its cultural strengths while updating to international learning standards.”
As part of their time in Santa Barbara, the delegation visited Harding Elementary and the Peabody Charter schools. The group also observed the English Language Development & Specially Designed Academic Instruction in English class with Single Subject (Secondary Education) Credential students at UCSB as well as the Technology class with Multiple Subject (Elementary Education) Credential students at UCSB.
The Royal Education Council of Bhutan was established in 2007, at the request of the 5th king, to have holistic reform of the educational system at deep level and to align the education system with Gross National Happiness (very simply put, to achieve a balance between polgor gongphil or economic development and gakid or happiness and peace). As there are approximately 500 schools in the kingdom, the focus of this reform will begin with a few “model” schools.
[For more information contact George Yatchisin at 805 893 5789]
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Photo caption: Members of the Bhutan Royal Education Council after meeting with the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education. From left to right, Sangay Jamtsho, Tashi Wangyal, Gyaltshen Penjor, Dean Jane Close Conoley, and Chencho Lhamu.