Hats Off to the Education Minister of Bhutan
November 24, 2011 saw our honourable minister of education, Mr. Thakur S. Powdyel, receiving one of the most coveted prizes that one can dream of at the Philippine International Convention Center, Manila. It was the night of the celebration marking the 2010 Gusi Peace Prize International awards.
Gusi Peace Prize is a Philippine based award, recognizing individuals working toward the attainment of peace and respect for human life and dignity. It is the Nobel Peace Prize for Asia.The annual Gusi Peace Prize Awards is run by the Gusi Peace Prize Foundation that performs humanitarian work for poor communities in the Philippines. It was founded by Ambassador Barry Gusi in 2003.GUSI stands for four ideals: G as in Godliness. U as in Unification. S as in Service. I as in Internationalism. These four ideals are used in choosing the awardees around the world.
Our honourable minister was one amongst the 20 awardees around the world who was conferred with the title of Gusi Peace Prize for his contribution in the field of education system in Bhutan. Modern education system in Bhutan has come a long way since the father of modern education in Bhutan, His Majesty the third king brought about reforms in the education system in the country. His Excellency, Thakur S. Powdyel was a part of that education system as a student and then taking the role of a teacher since 1984. He then went on to serve as the vice principal of the only college in Bhutan where I was one of his students in the late 1990’s. During those days in the college we used to refer to his Excellency as the Shakespeare of the east. His teaching in English would capture the students with rapt attention. His philosophy lecture about life would convince the students to lead life of integrity and honesty.
From being a teacher in the school to a lecturer and administrator in the college, and then serving as the director for the only research section in the ministry of education, his Excellency has seen the emergence of the education system in the country through various lens.
Now as the serving education minister, his Excellency has been propagating the concept of Gross National Happiness as envisioned by his Majesty the Fourth King Jigme Singye Wangchuck as a developmental philosophy for Bhutan. The idea of ‘Green School for Green Bhutan’ through ‘Educating for GNH’ has been initiated under the leadership of honourable minister. The green school for green Bhutan encompasses eight components reflected as natural greenery, intellectual greenery, academic greenery, social greenery, cultural greenery, spiritual greenery, aesthetic greenery, and moral greenery.
In every school visit his Excellency has been trying to uplift the moral of our teachers and students by the mention of the nobility of the profession he has thus chosen in his entire life. His encouraging words, his deep conviction in the noble profession of teaching, his utmost faith and trust in the people who have chosen his way, has melt the heart of many teachers across the country.
Thus, it was no surprise when I heard that his Excellency was going to be conferred the title of the Asia’s most coveted prize for the very contribution that he has made in the education system in Bhutan. This article is my way of paying my humble tribute in joining the Philliphines Nation to felicitate his Excellency for the accolade. The conferring of such honour is one of the first of its kind and thus reflects the magnitude of Bhutan in an international arena.