Assessing Educating for Gross National Happiness
Applying the Theory of Practice Architectures
Gross National Happiness (GNH) is a central policy, symbolic of Bhutan, which gave rise to Educating for GNH (EGNH). In Bhutan, the school Performance Management System is the sole instrument used by the Ministry of Education to evaluate the performance of schools. To test the utility of the Performance Management System in fulfilling the intended goals of EGNH, two of its key subcomponents—the School Self-Assessment and School Performance Scorecards—were assessed through the lens of the theory of practice architectures. The theory describes what comprises social practices and how they are shaped by the social, cultural and political contexts in which they occur. Content analysis was carried out using Leximancer text-mining software. The findings showed that the sayings and relatings and their corresponding cultural-discursive and social-political arrangements were not as evident in the School Self-Assessment indicators as the doings and material-economic arrangements. The findings also indicated that both the School Self-Assessment’s and the School Performance Scorecards’ indicators focus more on assessing leadership than teaching. The authors present several suggestions to ensure a closer alignment with the goals of EGNH, to demonstrate a balanced focus on assessing teaching and leadership, and to represent all practice architectures proportionately. Implications of this study should inform the policy and practices of Educating for GNH values in Bhutanese schools. The methods of the study could be adapted to examine educational practices beyond those of Bhutan.
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