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[VIDEO] Developing a nation through education: interview with Principal Sonam Chhogyel

We had the opportunity to interview Principal Chhogyel from Haa to discuss education in Bhutan. We talked about the role education has had in shaping the nation and his outlook on the future. Watch the video to hear Principal Chhogyel’s perspectives on education.

Can you introduce yourself?

I am Sonam Chhogyel, Principal of Ugyen Dorji Secondary School, which is a central school. Level wise it is a secondary school, 9th grade to 12th grade. We have 600 students and 40 teachers.

Why is education important for you?

Education is important for many reasons: it is important for self, it is important for community, it is important for nation, globally [it is] important. It is important that every citizen is educated in the best possible way.

What are some of the changes you have seen in education in Bhutan?

We have seen many changes in education, both in terms of learning and in schools. Both in terms of school as a system, you know? Education in Bhutan has began in such a way as the country was headed for development we needed human resource building and that human resource would only come through education. So in the late 50’s or early 60’s we were really looking for human resources for development. For that I think the government was on the look out that we should have educated citizens. And if we are to have education citizens we needed to have schools. So that is how the education as we have now actually began. It’s aim was for nation development and nation building.

How can the education system meet today’s challenges?

We need to update on things that are so recent and get ourselves ready. Unless we are ready we can’t make [youth] ready also. So we need to update ourselves in our field and then prepare for what is necessary for youth now. I think we have the whole system actually geared towards that, be it curriculum or any other program we have in school. It is intended to address the current needs of youth. Not just current, even for the future as well.

How is your school working to achieve quality in education?

For my school my upmost desire is to make it a face of academic excellence where all around learning would be promoted. Right now we are pursuing it, we are doing it, still I feel that we have more to do in terms of ICTization [Information, Communitication, Technology] of learning and so on. I think there is a lot more that needs to be done. We are doing it but still we have lots [more to do]. My primary focus is to have all the classes ICTized. Put in overhead projectors and do lots of online learning and so on. This is one of my immediate desires that I am working on and I am thinking in a few years time we should make good progress in this. We have in fact started the work.

What is your outlook on the future

It makes me excited and hopeful. With the changing times I am thinking new resources will come in, more facilities will be improved and learning would happen in a better way. And our students will have lots of opportunities to learn and do better in the future.

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