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Educate for Gross National Happiness

Sarath Syam
Monday, June 13, 2016
Sarath Syam
Socrates, an ancient Greek philosopher, once asked his students, "Do not all men desire happiness?" One of the students answered, "There is no one who does not." Ultimately, people from all walks of life want happiness. Since happiness is a fundamental human quest, many countries have introduced happiness and well-being as a quantifiable asset to compliment Gross Domestic Product (GDP). One such nation is Bhutan, a tiny Himalayan country that measures prosperity through formal principles of Gross National Happiness (GNH). With less than 0.8 million people, Bhutan has taken GNH beyond an intellectual disclosure and has incorporated its values into their educational curriculum. It is not a gimmick anymore.

For the past three or four decades, Bhutan's philosophy of considering happiness over material growth was a strange practice for rest of the world. Today, one of the fastest growing GDP's in the world, Bhutan's approach is attracting a lot of interest. The young generation of Bhutan not only learns the skills that are required to survive in this era of overwhelming technological advancements and globalization, but they are also aware of other's needs and the importance of collaboration in finding a solution collectively. As a result, on the United Nation's Human Development Index, Bhutan, which was considered as one of the poorest country with few schools and hospitals, is continuously moving upwards.

India, the giant neighbor of Bhutan, has many things to learn from this. In the midst of all the socio-economic, environmental and political considerations, we need to look at our education as a way to find solutions and realize meaningful purpose in their lives as well as to bridge the gap between individual and collectives needs. Then only, we can call it as a holistic education. In this issue of SiliconIndia Education, we feature one such Indian university on the cover. ITM University located in Gwalior, keeps student's life on a 'human scale' with a mission to educate leaders who can make a difference in the world. The country needs many more such universities. Therefore, along with ITM University, we also feature, 'Top 20 Private Universities' and 'Top 10 Emerging Universities', where students are taught to become great human beings.

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