HHfB commits with Bhutan Ministry of Education to Structured Synthetic Phonics

Signing a Memorandum of Understanding between Hear Hear for Bhutan and Bhutan’s Ministry of Education and Skills Development was the highlight of the recent visit to Bhutan by Emeritus Professor Helen Wildy (HHfB’s Founder and Chair) and Diana Rigg, HHfB Director and Founder and Director of Promoting Literacy Development (PLD). Here we are at the Signing ceremony with Bhutan’s Acting Education Secretary, Tshewang Chophel Dorji, on Tuesday 13 June 2023:

The agreement signifies Bhutan’s commitment to improving the teaching and learning of English through the adoption of the Structured Synthetic Phonics program in the English curriculum for Pre Primary, Class I, Class II and Class III. Diana Rigg generously donated to Bhutan her Intellectual Property for this program:

Teachers have already embraced the SSP program which focuses on the learning of letter sounds, enabling students to sound out words and begin to read even in Pre Primary. Students are excited to tackle new words by sounding the individual letters and joining them together. Students and teachers alike are enjoying modern classs-room activities that generate such rich learning. Early Reading skills provide a strong foundation a high quality English education.

HHfB is proud to have reached this significant milestone and look forward to providing more support to embed an age-appropriate SSP learning program for children prior to their entry to formal schooling.

Bhutan’s population vaccinated against covid-19

News item posted by the Australian Broadcasting Commission on 27 July 2021:

The Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan has inoculated most of its eligible population with second doses of COVID-19 vaccinations in just a week, in a speedy rollout hailed by UNICEF on Monday as a “success story” for international donations.

More than 454,000 shots were administered over the past week — which equates to just over 85 per cent of the eligible adult population of more than 530,000 people — after a recent flood of foreign donations.

The tiny nation had quickly used up most of the 550,000 AstraZeneca vaccines donated by India in late March and early April for people’s first shots, before the neighbouring country halted exports over a massive local surge in infections.

Faced with a growing time gap between first and second doses, Bhutan launched an appeal for donations.

UNICEF’s Bhutan representative, Will Parks, hailed the ambitious vaccination drive as a “great success story for Bhutan”.

Bhutan’s children start to learn to read by phonics

An amazing achievement in Bhutan:
1500 English teachers nationwide have been trained during the month of January to implement Structured Synthetic Phonics for their Pre-Primary classes.

Chair Helen Wildy said “I am so proud that HHfB can contribute to the improvement in literacy of all beginning learners this year.  I’m also impressed by the mighty effort of Sangay Tshering and his team at the Royal Education Council and Tashi Lhamo who leads the Teachers Professional Support Division.  Deep gratitude to HHfB’s Diana Rigg for her generosity and sustained hard work in preparation for the PD and implementation across the country.”

A group of grateful teachers sent us this video after attending two days of Professional Development to learn about the new Structured Synthetic Phonics approach to developing early literacy being implemented across Bhutan this year: an initiative of Hear Hear for Bhutan.

For all enquiries about SSP materials, please contact Sangay Tshering at the Royal Education Council (