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March 17, 2018

30th Anniversary of JOCV for Bhutan: Japanese Experience in Physical Education for the Prospective PE Teachers in Bhutan

On March 17, JICA Bhutan Office and the Paro College of Education hosted a seminar titled "Health and Physical Education in Japan" in Paro.

JICA's engagement in physical education in Bhutan started with a dispatch of one JOCV (Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteer) to a school in Thimphu. Since then, we have dispatched 80 HPE volunteers to Bhutan. Since its first dispatch, the HPE volunteer assignment had been sporadic for a while, but it started intensifying in the late 2000s. In 2009, a group of JOCV members organized the first UNDOKAI (HPE Festival) in Bhutan in Geddu. Since then, UNDOKAI has been a popular practice among the teaching volunteers at schools.

In addition, some JOCVs have worked for the inauguration of the "Children's Park for HPE" in their school playgrounds, where students are able to do some physical exercises. In early 2016, a JICA senior volunteer at the Royal Education Council, made a great contribution to the development of "HPE Activity Book" for Class PP to Class VI, in collaboration with the other HPE volunteers at schools. This teaching material, first of its kind in Bhutan, has been well accepted by the HPE teachers across the country.

JICA has also been involved in the pre-service HPE teachers' education since 2014. In January 2016 and January 2017, JICA hosted a Knowledge Co-Creation Program (KCCP) for Young Leaders on Physical Education, under which 10 members for each batch, consisting of school HPE teachers, faculty member of PCE, and another government official, visited Kanoya City in Kagoshima prefecture. In July 2017, another two Bhutanese participants attended the thematic KCCP course on physical education in basic education held at the University of Tsukuba.

The seminar was attended by approximately 120 students taking pre-service HPE curriculum at PCE. In the first session, the ex-participants to the KCCP course at Tsukuba, made a presentation on their observation of the HPE teaching practices at school and HPE teachers' training at college in Japan. As usual practice at the end of the KCCP course, the participants are supposed to develop their action plan, which is to be implemented after they come back to the country. Therefore, the three ex-participant lecturers at colleges briefed the audience on the status of their action plan implementation.

The second session started with the presentation by an HPE teacher in Paro, who was an ex-participant to the KCCP for Young Leaders. She reported on the current status of activities described in her action plan. It was followed by the presentation by Mr. Koji Yamada, Chief Representative of the JICA Bhutan Office, who spoke about the preliminary findings of his follow-up questionnaire survey to the HPE teachers who attended the KCCP for Young Leaders.

The climax of the event came at the time of the presentation by Mr. Seigo Fujiwara, JOCV member stationed as HPE teacher at the Katsho Lower Secondary School in Haa. Mr. Fujiwara spoke about his experience and lessons learned in the organization of UNDOKAI at his school last October, with the support of other JICA volunteers. His presentation was effective, playing the video taken at the event, and it inspired the audience. He also spoke about his small kaizen practice at school. In Bhutan, there is no interval between the class sessions and that makes it difficult for HPE teachers and students to prepare for the HPE class. Mr. Fujiwara faced the same difficulty. But he raised this issue to the school principal and made a revision on his time table in the second year so that he could minimize the cost for preparation for the next HPE class. He proved that we could improve the situation even with a small but innovative idea.

Another JOCV member, Mr. Yasunori Mori, HPE instructor at PCE, also contributed to the seminar as commentator-cum-facilitator for the second session. Their presence clearly indicated that the seminar was one of the events commemorating the 30th anniversary of the JOCV program for Bhutan.

The ecosystem of HPE quality assurance has been emerging in Paro around the Paro College of Education and neighboring schools. JICA would like to continue to cooperate for the promotion of HPE and its quality improvement.

PhotoPhoto of the Seminar Hall

PhotoPresentation by the JICA Chief Representative

PhotoPresentation by Mr. Fujiwara, JOCV


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