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Spiritual Development Exchange Programmes

The Bhutan Baccalaureate sees education as a wholistic process that extends far beyond the mere acquisition of knowledge. The framework for the wholistic development of learners is based on the Five Areas of Development: Cerebral, Emotional, Physical, Social, and Spiritual.

The Spiritual Area of Development relates to basic questions about the meaning and purpose of life that impacts everyone. It does not depend on an individual’s religious beliefs or affiliations alone but on the universal quest for individual and community identities and responses to challenging experiences. A learner’s growth and development in the spiritual area is about the search for answers to existential questions and the value of being able to live with purpose and meaning.

The underpinnings of spiritual development in the Bhutan Baccalaureate lie in the notion of being a good human being. Spiritual development, therefore, desires each learner to actualise one’s innate potential to become the best version of oneself. Built on the understanding of the interconnectedness (tendrel) of all natural phenomena, spiritual development helps learners discover their innate goodness to contribute to the creation of a just and harmonious society. The creation of a harmonious society starts with a deep understanding of oneself and one’s relation to the world. To do this, learners inculcate the watermarks of spirituality, such as grit (ngar -ངར), empathy, compassion, and altruism, and develop a sense of others.

The Spiritual Area of Development comprises four components: self-awareness and identity, meaning and purpose of life, inner goodness, and beyond self and others. These components allow learners to recognise their inner callings toward becoming good human beings.

Keeping in mind the significance of the Spiritual Area of Development for a learner’s wholistic growth, the Spiritual Coordinators of 23 Bhutan Baccalaureate schools organised a range of Spiritual Development Exchange Programmes Each school partnered with another school to carry out one of a total of twelve programmes, which were scheduled between March 27th and March 31st. While each exchange programme had its own objectives and indicators of success, all aimed to bring forth an enrichment of their school’s understanding of the Spiritual Area of Development.

To read more about the Spiritual Development exchange programme between the 23 Bhutan Baccalaureate schools, the report can be found using this link.

2023 Learning Frameworks of the 23 BB schools

The Learning Framework is the overarching framework that governs everything that takes place at a particular learning place or school. The Learning Framework of a school and the Bhutan Baccalaureate Learning Process are inextricably linked in terms of design and context. The development of a learning framework is determined by the learning process. The Learning Process focuses on the development of the learners’ Skills, Processes, and Watermark. The Learning Framework is constantly changing in response to the needs of individuals, the school, and the community. Therefore, the learning framework is dynamic and contextualised to the individual school which changes every year. The Five Areas of Development are given equal weight in the Learning Framework. In the Learning Framework, nature, aesthetic and technology are considered critical components in the learning process through concepts and domain-specific information.

The Learning Framework is developed based on the psychological, cognitive and social background. Therefore, learners learn best when their prior knowledge, preconceptions and background are recognized and engaged in the learning experiences when the learner has time to build a learning roadmap upon foundational knowledge through an active, experiential and contextual varied learning environment, and when the learners take control of their own learning through metacognitive reflection. The Learning Framework provides a variety of approaches to help learners in the development of new knowledge that is precisely and meaningfully organised to apply in new contexts.

The Royal Academy

Bjishong HSS

Damphu CS

Dechencholing HSS

Drukgyel HSS

Drukjegang HSS

Gelephu MSS

Jakar HSS

Kabesa CS

Kengkhar MSS

Khaling LSS

Kuzugchen MSS

Nganglam CS

Phuntshothang MSS

Samtengang CS

Samtse HSS

Tsenkharla CS

Tshangkha CS

Tshaphel LSS

Wangbama CS

Wangchu MSS

Zangkhar PS

Zhemgang PS

Programmes on Physical Area of Development across the 23 schools

The Bhutan Baccalaureate sees education as a wholistic process that extends far beyond the mere acquisition of knowledge. The Bhutan Baccalaureate provides a framework for the wholistic development of learners based on the Five Areas of Development: Cerebral, Emotional, Physical, Social, and Spiritual.

Physical Development is focused on motor development and physical health and well-being of the learners. These aspects of physical development are essential for learners’ to lead active, healthy lifestyles and ensure overall success in other Areas of Development.

Given this significance of the Physical Area of Development, each school planned, organised, and facilitated a programme focused on the Physical Area of Development in their respective schools in the month of February as a part of engagements among the 23 Bhutan Baccalaureate schools.

The programmes organised by the 23 schools with a focus on Physical Development are diverse and aim to promote the overall wellbeing of students and faculty members. While some schools organised one-off activities like sporting competitions, mass cleaning programmes, and health talks, others focused on year-long programmes such as the initiation of morning physical exercise in the school. Overall, most schools targeted their programmes to the students, while a few included programmes for faculty members as well.

The report on the programmes on the Physical Area of Development can be found here.

Conversation on the Emotional Area of Development

Engagements among the 23 Bhutan Baccalaureate Schools – Conversation on the Emotional Area of Development, organized by students of Drukjegang HSS and The Royal Academy.

In 2023, the implementation of the contextualised Bhutan Baccalaureate Learning Process in the 23 schools will present unique challenges and opportunities for each school. Therefore, it is vital to create platforms for each school to showcase its strengths and receive support in overcoming the challenges. The experiences and anecdotes of the schools during the implementation of the Learning Process must be documented and shared within and beyond the 23 schools. Through engagement programs such as competitions, exhibitions, and showcase opportunities, students, teachers, and schools will learn from one another in the Five Areas of Development. Collaborating in such programs will provide an avenue for teachers to share experiences, identify areas of improvement, and stay updated with new education trends. Additionally, the sharing of resources and exposure to diverse perspectives will enrich the overall learning experiences for students, teachers and schools.

In this regard, several engagement programmes have been planned for and by the 23 schools in order to increase the active engagement of students and teachers in their learning journey. These engagement programmes will allow them to develop Skills, Processes and Watermarks beyond the physical space of their own schools.

The purpose of the Conversation on Emotional Development is to enrich the understanding of Emotional Development among the students and teachers of the 23 schools. The engagement aims to share effective methods and approaches to help learners recognise their emotions and develop self-regulation skills. It also aims to provide insights into practical tools that learners can use to promote their emotional well-being and growth. By enhancing the understanding of Emotional Development participants can set themselves up for success and actualise their innate potential. Ultimately, the conversation should help learners move a step closer to becoming Persons of Substance who will make positive contributors to their community and country.

The report on the conversation on Emotional Development can be found here

The video recording of the conversation can be found here

Bhutan Baccalaureate: The Learning Journey of the 23 Schools.

Bhutan Baccalaureate: The Learning Journey of the 23 schools. ‘A webinar hosted by the Druk Gyalpo’s Institute.

The Bhutan Baccalaureate Learning Process was implemented in The Royal Academy in 2016 and continues to evolve based on the experiences and the needs of its learners. Currently, the Druk Gyalpo’s Institute is working toward transitioning the Bhutan Baccalaureate Learning Process and its contextualization into 22 schools across Bhutan in collaboration with the Ministry of Education. Our engagement with the 22 schools is an effort in reciprocal learning. While we transition schools and assist them to internalise and understand the Bhutan Baccalaureate Learning Process, we are equally focused on assessing and enriching our own learning process.

In line with this effort for reciprocal learning, on 15th July 2022, the Druk Gyalpo’s Institute hosted a webinar on “Bhutan Baccalaureate: The Learning Journey in the 23 Schools”. The webinar was developed to provide a platform for the 23 schools to share and exchange learnings and unique practices that schools have developed, during their journey in transitioning to the Bhutan Baccalaureate Learning Process, since March 2021.

The report on the webinar can be found by clicking here

Artificial Intelligence for Educators

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For its proponents, Artificial Intelligence is the future of education, and it’s already showing up in the learning tools at home & in the classroom. The goal of artificial intelligence in education is to use technology to personalize teaching by tailoring the learning experience to individual student needs. The advancement of AI in education, and in the use of data in education decision-making, has the potential to fundamentally change the way we teach and learn, and the way we assess student outcomes.

Educators are increasingly applying AI to their classrooms, and it’s creating some innovative and exciting outcomes in both the classroom and beyond. It is believed that AI will personalize education for every child in a manner hitherto unseen.

https://theroyalacademy.learnworlds.com/course/artificial-intelligence-for-educators

A Webinar on Bhutan Baccalaureate: The Learning Journey in the 23 schools – 15th July 2022

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The Druk Gyalpo’s Institute in collaboration with the 22 schools hosted a Webinar to showcase the learning journeys of all the schools involved in the Bhutan Baccalaureate transition process. The webinar was developed to provide a platform for the 23 schools to share and exchange learnings and unique practices that schools have developed, during their journey in transitioning to the Bhutan Baccalaureate Learning Process, since March 2021.

Participating Schools: Bjishong Central School, Dechencholing Higher Secondary School, Drukgyel Higher Secondary School, Drukjegang Higher Secondary School, Gelephu MSS, Jakar HSS, Kabesa CS, Kengkhar LSS, Khaling LSS, Kuzhugchen Middle Secondary School, Nganglam CS, Phuntshothang Middle Secondary School, Samtengang CS, Samtse Higher Secondary School, Tshaphel Lower Secondary School, Tsenkharla CS, Tshangkha Central School, The Royal Academy, Wangbama Central School, Wangchhu Middle Secondary School, Zangkhar Primary School, and Zhemgang Lower Secondary School.

Graduation Ceremony for the Class of 2021 – Tuesday, 9th August 2022

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On Tuesday, the 9th of August, 2022, His Majesty the Druk Gyalpo graced the graduation ceremony for the Class of 2021. He addressed the audience and awarded the Bhutan Baccalaureate Diploma to the students of the graduating class. The Class of 2021 is the first graduating class of The Royal Academy and the graduation ceremony marked a significant milestone for the Druk Gyalpo’s Institute. Out of the fifty-two students who had graduated, thirty-six students were able to attend the ceremony. The remaining sixteen students were not able to attend as they had already left for their further studies outside of the country. 

His Majesty’s the Druk Gyalpo’s address – 9th August 2022

When His Majesty the Druk Gyalpo addressed the audience during the graduation ceremony, he spoke to them as builders and pioneers of the future. His Majesty emphasized that in a technology-driven world where talents and skills are becoming increasingly more abundant, accessible, and cheaper, values such as dependability, consistency, and trustworthiness are progressively becoming more significant not just within the world of work but also in how we present ourselves as Bhutanese. In such a world, His Majesty highlighted that the way to differentiate Bhutan from other countries is to inculcate the aforementioned values as cornerstones of Bhutanese national identity. In general, Bhutan is thought of as a spiritual, clean, and happy country whose citizens do everything right. While this is a good image to have for a country from an external perspective, His Majesty stressed that we must translate this image into a pragmatic vision for nation-building. 

His Majesty portrayed three possible scenarios he sees for the youth of Bhutan. The first scenario is that, as a country, we remain the same – with minimal development, complacent institutional structures, lack of opportunities, and low-income jobs. For the youth, while they get to remain home and be close to family and friends, there will not be an enabling environment for them to earn high incomes and seek out opportunities for growth as presented abroad in other countries. The second scenario is that a large majority of the youth go abroad to earn higher incomes due to the lack of opportunities in the country. While it is only natural that an individual seeks out better opportunities for themselves, the drawback to this for the youth is that they will be distant from their family, friends, and home country. They will grow in a foreign culture and develop foreign values. After a long time, they might even cease to understand what it means to be Bhutanese. The third scenario and the scenario that His Majesty envisions for Bhutan is a situation where the country is built by all Bhutanese and spearheaded by the youth. A country full of opportunities, high-income paying jobs, with citizens who are “dependable and trustworthy”. His Majesty emphasized that this is no easy task but rather a herculean undertaking of unprecedented scale. In order to achieve this national vision, there are no easy routes – it will require great effort, courage, resolve, resilience and sacrifice. His Majesty is optimistic that Bhutan can achieve such a national vision for he knows that Bhutanese are intelligent people with courage, “ngar”, and resilience. The Bhutanese people have great devotion and love for their country. They want a better future for themselves and their families and are willing to work to strengthen the country. His Majesty conveyed that we do not have time to waste if we want to achieve our goals as a country. Every passing day we lose is a day lost for the future of Bhutan. 

As advice to the first graduating class and the entire student body, His Majesty encouraged the students to discover and follow their passions as career paths for the future; Incentivize lifelong learning and growth for themselves, and instill values that are not only helpful to themselves but also to others. The world is rapidly changing and one must constantly strive to keep learning and upskilling oneself. Bhutanese youth cannot remain stagnant in their growth for they are ultimately the future of the country. In closing, His Majesty expressed that he was delighted to be able to attend the graduation ceremony. It was a beautiful event to mark a significant milestone for The Druk Gyalpo’s Institute. His Majesty wished the first graduating class success and prosperity for their future endeavors.

After His Majesty’s address, the graduation ceremony also included three performances by the students and sharing of experiences by two students from the graduating class. The ceremony ended with a plantation of a Cypress sapling outside the Prajna Hall followed by a group photograph with His Majesty the Druk Gyalpo, first with the Class of 2021 and then with the entire student body, faculty, and the esteemed members of the audience. 

Post-graduation ceremony

In the evening, dinner around a bonfire was organized at Mr. Kapur’s house in Pangbisa. All the graduated students present for the ceremony attended the dinner and some faculty members of the Druk Gyalpo’s Institute joined as well. The dinner celebrations were full of songs, dances, and laughter – it marked the last evening that the graduating class spent together in Pangbisa.