CTAS Background

We are a small private school located in Kabesa, 10 km away from Thimphu. It is a private art school, especially for financially disadvantaged youth who have a keen interest in traditional art. It is a full time school with complete curriculum. The school focuses on several traditional Bhutanese Art forms and approached education from practical and theoretical perspectives. The school derives sense of satisfaction from being able to impart quality program and achieve employability of the students in the market.

At CTAS, we value every well-wishers and their valuable contribution towards building our school community and realizing the objectives. Students are encouraged to learn and develop their abilities within a caring, stimulating and challenging environment underpinned by our core values of excellence, enjoyment, respect and equality. We aim to help children to acquire respect for themselves and others and understand the importance of moral values such as sincerity, honesty and loyalty whilst encouraging a sense of responsibility and regard for the needs and feelings of others.

We provide free education so that students who are genuinely interested in the Bhutanese Arts can learn, regardless of their financial status or background. Our curriculum and the way we conduct the program is constantly under review to ensure that students of all abilities reach their full potential. The school currently offers extracurricular activities for innovative learning/creativity, basic English, Maths, Dzongkha, IT, cultural activities, sports, Driglam-Namzha (Bhutan’s code of etiquette), prayers, farming/ gardening and green values.

The school is recognized and certified as a formal private training institute by the Ministry of Labour and Human Resources, Royal Government of Bhutan. The school has also won in several open National Competitions.

The school acclaims on achievement of its students successfully employed in the market and doing well in life. The school will continue to strive making its students employable in the market and uphold promotion of traditional arts and crafts in the Country, a symbol of our Bhutanese identity, values and sovereignty. The school is optimistic of its contribution in creating enabling conditions to pursue Gross National Happiness, a development philosophy envisioned by our beloved Kings.

Choki Traditional Art School (CTAS) was established in 1999, commemorating the silver jubilee coronation celebration of His Majesty the Fourth King. The school was founded by Thrimdep Choki Dorji, a veteran artist who established the Zorig Chusum Institute in Kawangjangsa in early 1970s, with the approval of Her Royal Highness Ashi Dechen Wangmo Wangchuck, then the representative of His Majesty the King in the Ministry of Development.

After his retirement from Civil Service, few children who were interested to learn arts but could not get admission in the National Painting School due to qualification requirement approached for his support. His interest and love for the profession and zeal to keep alive the zorig chusum (13 Arts and Crafts) inspired him to teach these children at his house. These students come from humble family and faraway places so he kept them in his house and provided free food and lodge. Soon enough the news spread and many parents started bringing their children. Thus the idea to establish a small school and provide learning opportunity for the economically and disadvantaged children was conceived.

During their first two years, students study traditional rimo drawing, the foundation for future specialized study of more complex crafts. Additional practices covered include thanka (scroll) painting, patra (carving), thag-zo (weaving), and tshem-zo (embroidery). These skills are several of the zorig chusum, or “thirteen crafts,” Bhutan’s major traditional crafts. They represent hundreds of years of cultural practice, and many Bhutanese see their identity and history reflected in these crafts.


A premium Institute that strives for cultural & traditional sustainability through empowerment of youth.


1. Preserve and promote traditional arts and crafts;
2. Empower Bhutanese youth with livelihood skills;
3. Support and educate youth who are socially and economically disadvantaged;


1. Ensure high quality arts & crafts program;
2. Enhance employability of the students in the market;
3. Ensure sustainability of the program;
4. Develop institutional linkages both within and outside the country for improved exchange of knowledge and skills; and
5. Keep up to date with technology and mainstream green and sustainable practices as integral part to development and delivery of program

Name: Choki Traditional Arts School

Location: Kabesa, Thimphu, Bhutan

School Type: Private Co-ed Art School

Students: 160 (123 boys; 37 girls)

Education Medium: Dzongkha (National Language)

Boarding Facility: Yes

Facilities include:

  • – Dorm rooms
  • – Classrooms
  • – Kitchen Garden
  • – Basketball Court
  • – Multipurpose hall
  • – IT lab


His Majesty the Fifth Druk Gyalpo awarded the National Order of Merit to Dasho Choki Dorji on 17th December 2010 on the National Day celebration for promotion of arts and culture in the country and for establishing the National Institute of Zorig Chuusum (Thirteen Arts and Crafts).

Dasho Choki Dorji received Certificate of Appreciation from Ministry of Labour and Human Resources for his tireless contributions in the vocational education during the first ever Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) Symposium held on 23rd June 2017.

CTAS is recognized and certified as a formal private training institute in Bhutan by the Ministry of Labour and Human Resources, Royal Government of Bhutan. The Department of Occupational Standards, Ministry of Labour and Human Resources conducted an institutional registration survey of all the training institutions in the country to formally recognize and certify the training providers to deliver courses upon meeting the minimum quality standards. The institutions are categorized as grade A, B and C based on the minimum assessment criteria. While no institutions were categorized in ‘A’ , the CTAS was one of the few institutes placed in category ‘B’ and we hope to move up the ladder and get into category “A”. Towards achieving this target, the School is in the process of getting its course accredited by Ministry of Labor & Human Resources and Quality Management System (QMS) certified.

CTAS received the Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence for the year 2015, 2018 and 2019.

CTAS received a recommendation letter from His Royal Highness Prince Namgyal Wangchuck, which states and confirms the authenticity of the school and its positive contributions towards preserving the culture and tradition of Bhutan.

In 2008, CTAS received a recommendation letter from the Bhutan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which states and confirms the authenticity of the school and its positive contributions towards preserving the culture and traditions of Bhutan.

CTAS was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation by the Rietberg Museum for their participation during the Dragon Gift Exhibition from September 20 to October 8 2010.  The three students of CTAS showcased their skills of traditional embroidery, painting and wood carving though live demonstration and received many words of praise for their skill and the school. 

CTAS received a Certificate of Appreciation by the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage for participating in the 42nd Annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington D.C.

Student Numbers

The school started with 5 students in 1999 and over the last twenty years, as depicted below in the chart, the number of students (boys and girls) enrolled in the school has risen steadily. It was only in 2009 that girls were able to enroll with support of Mr. Koenraad Foulon and his daughter Leila. This has enabled the provision of equal opportunities for girls and transformed their lives positively.