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Julian Richards

Name

Julian Richards

Location

Bartsham PS, Trashigang

Level

4 - 6

Subjects

English

Hometown

Calgary, Alberta

Born in England and raised in Calgary, Alberta, Julian is an outdoor enthusiast with a passion for the mountains and mountain cultures. Julian has been a resident of Banff National Park for more than 20 years and enjoys backcountry camping & trekking, downhill mountain biking and ski touring in the Rocky Mountains. Julian regularly journeys to the Andean, Sierra Madre and Himalayan regions where he explores by cycle touring on the great rough & rewarding roads of the world.  Julian is a graduate of the University of Calgary’s Latin American Studies BA and Masters of Teaching BEd programs. Along with his wife, Shauna, Julian worked in Bhutan for the 2011 school year. Julian taught English to grades 4 to 6 students at Bartsham Primary School in Eastern Bhutan.

story from the field

Tech support

Prior to my arrival in Bhutan I was not able to contact my principal as he had no electronic contact and I presumed no computer. Upon my arrival at the Bartsham Primary school I noticed that my principal, Pema Norbu, had an old desktop computer in his office. It was hardly switched on and when it was it was mostly being used for transcribing Dzongkha text to be used in his Dzongkha language class, or for the local Trashigang Dzong officials that he visited monthly.

The IT situation changed quickly when he took an interest in learning more about computers and what they could accomplish. One day he showed up to work with a brand new lap-top and called me into the office to set it up and get him started on it. I set him up with a Gmail account, taught him how to send, receive, save messages and how to attach, send and save files. At that point I had  been frequently bringing my digital camera to school , so he assigned me as the school photographer and I began documenting major activities, celebrations, GNH gardening and school clean-up projects, and of the course the daily antics of the students and staff.

Having already a progressive vision of what the Bartsham Primary school should represent, the principal was invited to attend a “GNH and the School Environment” conference in Paro.  For this conference he would have to submit a 20 page report on what Bartsham Primary school had accomplished in terms of fulfilling the school’s commitment to GNH and the environment, while also presenting a synthesized power point presentation to the lecturers and attending guests. With my assistance we worked together to refine, edit, and develop a comprehensive 20 page report that included in-set photos, and a dynamic power point presentation with accompanying photos that highlighted the key components.

My principal returned from the conference with a big smile on his face, as he was awarded a certificate for his ongoing work and Bartsham Primary school won first place in the national  “GNH and the School Environment” contest. He also returned with a brand new HP scanner under his arm, which became the next IT project. In addition, Bartsham Primary school had an honorable mention in the local Kuensel newspaper as one of Bhutan’s top ten primary schools. He is now about to purchase a new digital camera to add to his IT repertoire, and Barthsam Primary school has a plan to produce computer generated report cards for the children at the end of the school year.