The Transfer Phase: SmD from 2012 to 2014
In the subsequent transfer phase, the South Indian exile monasteries (where SmD had been in effect for ten years) took on full responsibility for the planning and carrying out of the continual teaching of natural sciences within their own walls. Since 2012, the task of recruiting qualified Tibetan or Indian teachers and providing classrooms and teaching materials has been administered by the monastery authorities.
This represents a great challenge for the monasteries, but they will continue to receive support from the "Science meets Dharma" project. At the moment support is offered in the following areas (for details refer to "Status Report of the Project"):
- Recruitment of qualified teachers and translators
- Coaching the teachers, especially those with little or no teaching experience
- Development of course contents and appropriate teaching materials
- Acquisition of visual aids and instruction in their use
- Development of teaching plans that conform to the needs and limitations of the individual monasteries
- Installation of a monastery "Science Information Corner"
The training of Tibetan assistant teachers can be cited as an outstanding example of such support activities. In the spring of 2014, an intensive two-week training course in didactics and methodology organised by SmD took place at the Dalai Lama Institute for Higher Education (DLIHE) for selected nuns and monks who already had basic knowledge of natural sciences. Those completing the course have been active since 2014 as assistant teachers and translators in the eight monasteries in which SmD had been active since 2001.
The willingness demonstrated by the monastery directors for the new tasks and the ways in which they have realised them has been astonishing.