Folktales and Education: The Role of Bhutanese Folktales in Value Transmission

Penjore, Dorji

In: Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Gross National Happiness. Centre for Bhutan Studies, Thimphu 2005, pp. 258-277 . ISBN 99936-14-38-6

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This paper begins by introducing Meme ‘Haylain’ Happiness, a concept drawn from a Bhutanese folktale about an old man, Meme Haylay Haylay, who exchanges his turquoise for a song, and happily returns home singing the song. It questions whether we are ready to pursue happiness in our daily life like Meme Haylay Haylay who had realized that more happiness would flow from singing a song than from guarding the turquoise. The paper then explores the roles of Bhutanese oral tradition in educating children who could not avail themselves of either monastic or modern education. It argues that modern education, which primarily provides secular, pluralistic, egalitarian and market values necessary for running economic, political and legal institutions and the machinery of the modern nation-state is deficient in many ways; it is the oral tradition which fills this gap by inculcating universal, humanistic and Bhutanese values. It also discusses the main functions of Bhutanese folktales which are about trivial events but embedded with multi-layered meanings of great moral and social importance, with experiences drawn from daily life. The common motifs of the tales are chosen to relate them to the daily realities of the Bhutanese people. Lastly, this paper makes some policy recommendations to promote, document, disseminate and study the Bhutanese folktales through the mass media such as the press, radio, TV, internet, and film industry.

Document type: Book Section
Version: Secondary publication
Date Deposited: 5 April 2013
ISBN: 99936-14-38-6
Faculties / Institutes: Miscellaneous > Individual person
DDC-classification: Education
Controlled Subjects: Bhutan, Sage, Werteerziehung
Uncontrolled Keywords: Bhutan , Volksmärchen , Wertevermittlung, Bhutan , Folktale , Value Transmission
Subject (classification): Literature
Education and Research
Countries/Regions: Bhutan