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Happiness, Inclusivity, and Education

Room 107, School of Education (Building R19)
Lectures Talks and Workshops, Social Sciences
Wednesday 15th February 2017 (12:00-13:00)
Download the date to your calendar (.ics file)

Dr Matthew Schuelka:

Dr Lila Kossyvaki:


This British Academy Seminar is part of the 2017 Research in Progress (RIPS) seminar series


  • Dr. Matthew Schuelka, Lecturer, School of Education
  • Prof. Gary Thomas, School of Education
  • Dr. Kezang Sherab, Dean, Paro College of Education Bhutan
  • Ms. Tsering Yangzome Nidup, Lecturer, Paro College of Education Bhutan

Light refreshments and tea/coffee will be served

This is a panel discussion that sets out to explore the following questions:

  1. Can happiness be taught?
  2. Can inclusivity be taught?

The panelists will address these questions from a general and particular perspective. Dr. Kezang Sherab and Ms. Tsering Yangzome Nidup will speak of the Education for Gross National Happiness initiative within Bhutan, and efforts to instill well-being and happiness within Bhutanese students. This initiative has been met with both success and challenge. Dr. Schuelka will speak on the case of Bhutan and in how happiness and social inclusion are really promoting the same goals and values. Professor Thomas will address inclusive education philosophy and the place of schools in promoting inclusive values. We anticipate that the audience for this panel will also contribute significantly to the dialogue.

This panel discussion is part of a British Academy-funded project on non-cognitive skills in the curriculum and the role of teachers in England and Bhutan. Of primary interest in this project is the role and ‘place’ of schools in society. This project asks big questions such as Do schools and teachers have an obligation to shape the moral and ethical lives of their students beyond the curriculum? Can the school have an actual effect on society in terms of inclusion and general happiness?  In England, the current educational policy and political discourse has featured the idea the ‘British Values’ and Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural (SMSC) development. In Bhutan, the major educational policy and political discourse has centred around the development philosophy of Gross National Happiness (GNH) and bringing its ideas into schools via the Education for GNH initiative. 


Dr. Matthew Schuelka is Lecturer of Inclusion and Special Educational Needs and Deputy Head of the Disability Inclusion and Special Needs Department at the School of Education, University of Birmingham. His work and profile draw from many different disciplines, including anthropology, critical disability studies, and comparative international education. He has been primarily focused on the country of Bhutan since 2012, and is the co-editor of the recent book Education in Bhutan: Culture, Schooling, and Gross National Happiness (Springer, 2016).

Professor Gary Thomas is Professor of Inclusion and Diversity at the School of Education, University of Birmingham. Most of his funded research has been on inclusive or special education, but he was also awarded a Leverhulme Research Fellowship to examine the role of theory in education. He is the author or editor of numerous books, including Education: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford, 2013), Deconstructing Special Education and Constructing Inclusion (Open University Press, 2007), and Education and Theory: Strangers in Paradigms (Open University Press, 2007).

Dr. Kezang Sherab is a senior lecturer, currently working as the Dean of Research and Industrial Linkages at the Centre for Educational Research and Development, Paro College of Education, Bhutan. His research interests are in educational change, student engagement, efficacy beliefs, GNH Education, and youth fitness. He was a Review Panel Member for Bhutan Education Blueprint (2014-2024) and Tertiary Education Roadmap for Bhutan (2015-2025). 

Ms. Tsering Yangzome Nidup is a senior lecturer at the Centre for Educational Research and Development, Paro College of Education, Bhutan. Her areas of expertise are in the areas of English Language/ Literature, Multigrade teaching, Media Literacy, and Critical Literacy. She was also the Convener for the International Seminar on Sexuality Education hosted at the Paro College in December, 2015

The event is free and all are welcome. You do not need to register for this event.

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