Modernization

In the 1960s, Bhutan opened its borders to foreign visitors and the first road system was built in the 1970s. Television was introduced to Bhutan in 2000, and now there are a variety of channels available, most stemming from India and the UK. Through TV, many Bhutanese are now seeing a glimpse of life in other countries/cultures. This is especially influencing the Bhutanese youth, who are attracted to Western music, styles of dress, etc. As a result, it is not unusual to see young people rebelling against their national dress codes to keep up with international fashions.


photo M. Noonan

There is universal public education in Bhutan. Children go to school Monday through Friday, with a half day on Saturday. Children living in the country often walk an hour or more to school, crossing rivers and climbing mountains in order to attend. Druk is the official language of Bhutan, but very few people can write the language, as its system of characters is very difficult to master. Instead, English is taught early on in the school system. So, ironically, most Bhutanese can read and write English, but not their own national language.
 

Content provided by Canisius College students under the direction of Michael Noonan, PhD.