Beginning in FY2021, the Global Collaboration Center is hosting regional research-based seminars to (1) learn about the Kingdom of Bhutan, which is located in South Asia, and (2) examine development policies and the situation of the country and region in light of these issues. Each seminar includes a film screening, a brief commentary by the presenter, and a question-and-answer session. This year’s seminar is also an approved project of the “Japan-Southwest Asia Exchange Year 2022” by Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The 8th seminar screened a documentary film about a teacher assigned to a remote primary school in Lunana district, Gasa prefecture. Participants learned about the background of the film and the thoughts of the director, Mr. Dorji Wangchuk, and had an opportunity to reflect on Bhutan’s issues of depopulation, changes in rural life, and aspects of school education.
About 40 people attended the seminar. Here are some of the participants’ comments: “The discussion about changing values in education was impressive,” “The scene of the teacher taking care of the students’ personal care and hygiene, and the scene of the teacher persuading the students families to allow them to attend school, were impressive.”
The 9th seminar showed a documentary about a boy who walks 2.5 hours each day from his home in a village in the central province of Trongsa prefecture to go to primary school. Mr. Tomoaki Tsugawa, former JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) expert, made comments after the screening. He shared information by answering participants’ question about school education, urban-rural disparities, nutrition, village life, damage caused by wild animals, theft of Buddhist scriptures, and young people’s strong desire to work abroad.
About 55 people attended the seminar. Here are some of the participants’ comments: “I learned about the educational situation in Bhutan in 1999 through the seminar,” “I learned about the daily life of the people of Bhutan, where Buddhism is a central part of their lives. I felt that the children’s high motivation to learn was not the same as it is in Japan.”
The 10th seminar showed a documentary film about a postman who delivers letters to the remote village of Lingzhi, which takes five days to reach on foot. Mr. Tomoaki Tsugawa, former JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) expert, made comments after the screening. He shared information by answering questions from the participants about Bhutan’s geography, literacy and school attendance rates, way of praying, and characteristics of Lingzhi village, etc.
About 55 people attended the seminar. Here are some of the participants’ comments: “I was inspired by the Bhutanese practical approach to coexisting with nature while emphasizing the value of education and famine preparedness,” “After the screening, I had mixed feelings about wishing the people of Lingzhi to continue their way of life, which I felt was an odd wish for a person living a modern life. However, as Mr. Tsugawa said, I think the seminar was an opportunity for me to reflect on my own values by learning about the way of life of people who live strongly and with values uncommon in cities.”