A five-year-old book born in Bhutan sees a Japanese incarnation.
My Green School: An Outline by Thakur S Powdyel has been translated into Japanese and published into a bilingual book.
Professor Miwako Hosoda, vice president and professor of sociology at Seisa University in Japan, who translated the book, believes that the book will be of much interest to students, educators, and researchers. The book has been published by Seisa University and it is expected to be taught in schools across Japan.
The book presents the original English text and Japanese translation side by side in an airy layout with space for notes, pictures from both Bhutan and Japan, and some illustrations. The 124-page book is much bigger and more colourful than the original Bhutanese edition.
The Japanese edition of My Green School follows Spanish, Catalan, Vietnamese, and German translations. The Vietnamese version was rated among the top five translated works in the country in 2016 and is taught in the first year as part of the curriculum in Hoa Sen University.
My Green School was written to support Bhutan government’s Educating for Gross National Happiness (GNH) initiative launched in 2010. The deeply meditative book presents multiple dimensions of education in the form of the ‘Sherig [education] Mandala’. It discusses and philosophises on eight kinds of greenery, namely natural, social, cultural, intellectual, academic, aesthetic, spiritual, and moral greenery. The book proposes a paradigm shift in education and proposes a more wholesome system that ‘combines the need to sharpen brains and skills with the need to build faith and character.’
And this is what Professor Miwako finds valuable. In his afterword, Professor Miwako says that the book is ‘packed with the educational philosophies’ and ‘there is much that the Japanese, who tend to prioritise GDP and academic performance, can learn from Bhutan’.
In the meantime, former education minister Thakur S Powdyel said that he was deeply humbled and greatly fulfilled that his work had found relevance and purpose in a country that is special in so many ways. “The fact that my little book is translated into the great language of a great people is both a matter of pride not only to me but for my country as well,” he said.
A fine user of English language and respected teacher, Thakur S Powdyel is a recipient of Gusi Peace Prize for life-time contribution to education, the Asian equivalent of the Nobel Prize, in 2011, the Global Education Award for outstanding contribution to education in 2012, and Distinguished Service Award in 2016.
Contributed by Needrup Zangpo