INTERDISCIPLINARY JOURNAL OF ENVIRONMENTAL AND SCIENCE EDUCATION

Keyword: collectivism

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Research Article
Bhutanese Teachers' and Students' Perceptions about Environmental Issues in Bhutan
Interdisciplinary Journal of Environmental and Science Education, 2022, 18(1), e2263, https://doi.org/10.21601/ijese/11363
ABSTRACT: Bhutan aspires to achieve Gross National Happiness (GNH) through sustainable environmental conservation and socioeconomic development. However, the country is facing increasing environmental challenges. Education is considered to be a key component in a range of efforts to remediate current environmental threats in Bhutan. As part of this agenda, the optional school subject of Environmental Science was introduced in 2015 for Classes IX–XII with the aim of equipping young people with the knowledge and values to protect the environment and promote sustainable and equitable use of natural resources in the pursuit of GNH. This paper focuses on the qualitative aspect of a broader mixed-method research project that explored the effective implementation of Environmental Science in secondary schools in the Samtse region of Bhutan. This study answers the research question: “What are teachers’ and students’ views about environmental problems in Bhutan?” Drawing on interviews of 14 teachers and 194 students engaged in Environmental Science, the results showed that participants were aware of various environmental problems; however, they lacked knowledge and awareness about climate change issues in Bhutan. The results suggest the need for more emphasis on climate change education in Bhutan. The student participants believed in collectivism to address the environmental challenges, indicating a strong cultural influence that schools could leverage to address sustainability issues through community participation.