One Child, Seven Skills: Lhuentse’s progressive new policy

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Each child is to be groomed in seven different skills. The policy is based on Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligence

In northeastern Bhutan, some 130 km away from Yongphulla Airport, lies the Dzongkhag of Lhuentse. It is the ancestral home of Bhutan’s royal family and houses the magnificent Lhuentse Dzong, on top of several sacred pilgrimage sites. 

Lhuentse is one of the most isolated districts in Bhutan. But its isolation also means breathtaking well-preserved landscapes, with pretty river gorges and lush greens. On top of that, Lhuentse is well-known for their weavers; their textiles are considered the best in the country. 

Now, Lhuentse has a new exciting initiative.

In 2021, the schools in Lhuentse introduced the “One Child, Seven Skills” policy. The initiative was implemented by the Dzongkhag Education Conference, and is in line with the Royal Decree on Education Reform and Civil Service Reform. 

The office noted that children are naturally multi-gifted, but schools have yet to recognise this. Thus, the dzongkhag is determined to groom the children in seven different skills. The goal is to equip the children with skills that could be valuable later in life, and hopefully help them find employment.

Howard Gardner Theory of Multiple Intelligences

The one child, seven skills policy is based on Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences. According to the theory, the traditional psychometric views of intelligence are limited. In his 1983 book Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences, Gardner proposed that everybody has different kinds of “intelligences”, of which there are eight types. He added a possible ninth “intelligence” known as “existentialist intelligence”.

Gardner posits that while a person might be especially talented in one specific area, they most likely also have talents in a range of areas. For example, a person who has musical intelligence might be strong in verbal and naturalistic intelligence. 

The seven skills offered in Lhuentse

The classes training the children on the seven skills are on top of their regular classes. 

Previously, the schools already had co-curricular activities, but the teachers did not place much emphasis on it. With the new one child, seven skills policy, they are better equipped to groom the childing in the different skills. Lhuentse has stated that they want world-class skills.

However, the different schools of Lhuentse offer different courses. Among the skills offered by the various schools are:

  • Design and pattern
  • Production of cosmetics
  • Composing music
  • Singing
  • Vocational works
  • Sports
  • Culinary skills
  • Carpentry
  • ICT
  • Media
  • Hairdressing
  • Cobbling
  • Recycling
  • Traditional arts
  • Painting

The best part about this initiative is that the schools don’t need external resources. All they needed were the skills, thus it could be implemented immediately.

Officials in Lhuentse have commented that while seven talents might sound like a lot, in fact, we all have it in us, waiting to be developed. For example, we have eyes and can see, so we can see patterns, designs, and colours. And with that, we have the foundation to become a designer, and a world-class designer at that!

On top of the One Child, Seven Skills initiative, the principals of Lhuentse schools are also in the midst of reforming the respective schools, in line with the Royal Decree. Through the reforms, the schools are looking towards digitalisation, reforming curriculum, developing infrastructure, and promoting school discipline.

As part of the effort, the school principals have gathered information from Lhuentse students of middle and higher secondary schools. They have pinpointed the teaching methods that are most effective with the students. 

One Child, Seven Skills policy

What the children have to say about the policy.

“I am interested to learn carpentry works, arts, and culinary. Of those activities, I am very passionate about cooking.” — Sonam Choki, student of Khoma LSS

“In the future, if I don’t get employed, I thought that I could make a livelihood by becoming a web designer. So I started to show interest and explore web designing.” — Tshewang Tempel, student of Khoma LSS



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