The Royal Academy is a visionary initiative of His Majesty the King where full support is provided to meritorious students from economically disadvantaged family backgrounds.
The schools was established on 21st of February 2016, coinciding with the birth anniversary of His Majesty the King and commemorating the 60th birth anniversary of His Majesty the Fourth King. “The school is a gift from the His Majesty the King to celebrate the legacy of His Majesty The Fourth King’s service to the nation, especially in His Majesty’s contributions in the educational arena,” said the Director of the school and Zimpon Wom Karma Thinley.
He said that the establishment of the Royal Academy is a testament to His Majesty’s recognition of the critical role of education in enriching the lives of our people and society, nurturing successive generations of leaders, narrowing emerging economic and social disparities, and building a strong, secure, and prosperous world.
The school is made up of three components, the school, the Educational Research Center and the Teacher Development Center. “These three are interconnected and form integral part of the Royal Academy.” he said.
“The Royal Academy is not just the school, we also have the Educational Research Center and the Teacher Development Center,” he said.
The first cohort of 13 teachers went through a rigorous 15 months training conducted by the Teacher Development Center. “Any teacher that is recruited to teach at the Academy would have to go through similar training at the Teacher Development Center and once the teacher is part of the team, they will have to continuously and simultaneously conduct research to inform their teaching pedagogies and practices.”
“All teachers and students are learners who will continuously keep learning and improving taking on multiple roles of a teacher, researcher and teacher educator. Thus bringing the three components seamlessly together,” he said.
While the Educational Research Center will continue to work on enriching the curriculum of the Academy through educational research on teaching pedagogies and other practices. The Educational Research Center and the Teacher Development Center in the long run will liaise with the educational colleges both within the country and internationally to help train not just the Academy teachers but teachers from around the country.
The first cohort of 60 students consists from all 20 Dzongkhags where selection has been done through a rigorous selection process.
The orientation programme took place from the 7th of March till the 2nd of April. “The focus was on understanding the back story of students and creating students and teacher’s individual roadmaps and group roadmaps which together produced a master roadmap outlining the path for the Academy as a whole for the year ahead,” he said.
He said that the roadmaps are an important tool of assessment where each teacher was assigned a group of students and together they created individual and group roadmaps. “Students played a big part in proposing indicators of success along their roadmaps unique to their individual aspirations.”
In addition, booster programme laid out the design and structure that made up the Learning Experiences. “The Learning Experiences are not rigid but continuous and evolutionary,” he said.
“Further, Peer mentoring is a significant component at the Royal Academy because each student is a leader in some way” he added.
Every student was encouraged to come up with something to teach or show other students. At the same time, every student was kept highly engaged, through differentiated learning experiences.
One of the emphasis in the school is to avoid compartmentalization of topics and instead deal with them in a wholesome manner. At the same time, teachers will ensure that they ‘listen’ to children and not overlie their understanding of students questions on what students actually want to learn.
“We are not just focusing on the academic development of students but we are taking a holistic approach to their development, incorporating cerebral, social, spiritual, emotional and physical development,” he said.
He added that the emphasis is given not only to high academic achievement but also to development of character that fosters fundamental values such as honesty, integrity, teamwork, generosity and compassion towards others. “Through this approach, the Royal Academy will promote a culture of excellence in all aspects of student life,” he said.