In the old days in Bhutan, monasteries were the only agency to provide education. People who live close to the monastery were able to send their sons to learn. Youngster could learn to read and write, and they could learn about poetry, ethics and morality.

Bhutan government had started to promote modern education since 1961 as their first 5-year plan and there were only 11 schools. Now, there are 2065 schools in Bhutan (2017), every children could gain the opportunity to receive education. The government provided free basic 11 years education. (7 years primary school and 4 years secondary school , from class PP to class IX)

* In 2017, literacy rate in Bhutan is 64.9%.

從武漢肺炎爆發以來,香港的大中小學已不知道停課停了多久。

話說在不丹的普納卡時,一天清晨和一位路過的晨運客聊了一陣,發現原來酒店的山坡上面是一間小學,而他就是在那間學校工作。翌日清晨,我又去到酒店外的小斜坡,「雲中的堡壘」還是沒有出現,天漸漸光起來,河上起霧的情景似乎不會出現,想起晨運客提起的小學,於是上去一探究竟。

1960年代之前,只有佛寺有提供學育,有幸住在佛寺附近的人,才可以有機會將兒子送到佛寺中讀書,由佛寺的僧侶教授讀和寫,當然也會有詩歌,倫理道德的課題,但事實上,對一般不丹人來說,讀書識字其實並非生活必要技能,所以嚴格來說,讀書在當時亦是一項奢侈品。不丹政府在1961年開始推行普及教育,將不丹人的識字率提高至64.9%(2017),其中年輕人(15-24歲)的非文盲率達 0.996。

今天不丹每個小童年滿6歲都會入讀小一,享有十一年免費教育,免學費、免書薄費免費、體育用品、包食宿,真是名符其實的免費教育。

* 讀完七年小學(PP-VI)、兩年初中(Class VII -VIII)兩、兩年高中(Class IX- X)、兩年Post-basic education (Class XI-XII),學業成績優異的,政府亦會提供獎學金讀大學,除此之外,亦有不同課程和技能讓青年或成人修讀。

*由於不丹鄰近印度,每年也有不少學生去到印度讀書,不丹皇后吉增·佩瑪Class XI-XII 就去到印度讀書,之後再去到英國倫敦留學。