Media Literacy in Bhutan

Question: What’s the last nation in the world to have television reception?

Answer: Bhutan, which used be an absolute monarchy and is now building democratic institutions as a constitutional monarchy.

Bhutan map from the CIA Factbook.

What a great bit of digital world trivia to begin a family media literacy conversation!

According to this press story from Ithaca College, the Kingdom of Bhutan invited representatives from the school’s media literacy initiative, Project Look Sharp, to work with the Ministry of Education and help train the country’s teachers to understand and use media literacy principles.

As Bhutan develops democratic institutions, encouraging citizens to assume the responsibilities of civic participation, the country’s  leaders want to ensure that the strengths of traditional Buddhist life are not overwhelmed by the exposure to western media influences.

“They recognize that media literacy is a critical component of citizenship and helping transition to participatory government,” comments Chris Sperry, the Project Look Sharp curriculum director.

In the short article Sharp also previews how he will teach in Bhutan. “I will show examples of American media that romanticize Bhutan,” he explains, “and help them pick it apart, then present examples of Bhutanese media that romanticize the West and help them pick that apart.”

Read the entire article. Read about the most important media literacy concepts at the Media Awareness Network. Teachers who want to learn more about teaching media literacy can check out the summer institute at Ithaca College.

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