There is a Thai saying connected with the popular hobby of training and trimming shrubs in the household, "The young plants are easily trained, not the old ones," which is akin to the widely held belief that a talent for music or some other skill is a gift one is born with and so cannot be taught. Such notions make some teachers give up on certain children in their classes as incorrigible or unteachable. However, His Majesty the King takes a different view.
To him, anyone can be taught a new skill. He proved the validity of the concept by teaching those in his entourage to play various musical instruments until they were proficient enough to form the Sahai Pattana (Colleagues in Development) Band. Most of the members had no basic musical training and they were well advanced in age. However, with their devotion and full confidence in the teacher, none other than His Majesty the King, they put their utmost effort into it. His Majesty, meanwhile, was a meticulous, caring, and patient teacher. The achievement of the band brought pride to both the teacher and the learners. In this and other instances, his teaching method and philosophy serve as a true model of an effective teaching and learning for all in the teaching profession to follow.
His Majesty the King attaches great importance to education. He sets himself as a clear example for life-long learning. His royal speeches, addresses, and writings keep reminding all involved of the importance of learning. His royal activities, work plans, and projects aim at demonstrating the solving of problems and at creating learning communities for the development of the quality of life of the Thai people.
His Majesty has a clear concept of lifelong education, and frequently emphasizes the need for graduates to keep on learning and improving their knowledge, as stated in his royal address on the commencement of graduates from Kasetsart University on 14 July 1955:
I would like to remind you that even though you have completed your studies in accordance with the syllabus, and have been conferred the degree, you should keep in mind that this is just the first step in education. You must study and train yourself further, as in all branches of science, new knowledge is always obtained through experiments and research. If you fail to keep up, you will soon become outdated.
In a royal address in 1961, His Majesty stated one of his fundamental beliefs about learning:
Learning is a never-ending process. Those who wish to advance in their work must constantly seek more knowledge, or they could lag behind and become incompetent.
The quote comes from a royal address given at the commencement ceremony at Thammasat University on 23 February 1961. His Majesty pointed out that the real scope of education was not confined to an education system or a period of education. Education is a lifelong process for a person, as His Majesty stated in a royal address on 20 April 1978:
Education concerns everyone, and not for a particular period, as a direct duty for a period. It is not so. From birth, one starts to learn. Growing up, one has to learn, up to higher education, as you are pursuing. We call it Udom Sueksa - full or complete education. But once you leave this institution and start working, you have to continue studying. Or you would not survive. Even those with doctoral degrees have to study further. Education is endless.
His Majesty's activities throughout his long reign, with the 60th anniversary of his accession to the throne celebrated in 2005, all reflect his ingenuity and enlightenment regarding the learning process. His Majesty conducts a research study on whatever problem his attention is on, builds up and develops the body of knowledge, experiments with possible solutions, adjusting and improving it before granting the knowledge gained in problem-solving to the country and the people.
Apart from the royal Chitralada agricultural projects, with experiments carried out in the royal residence, such as rice-growing, cattle raising, rice mill operating, and others, there are six royal development study centers in all regions of the country, as the learning centers for the people, or a form of education at their own pace. Moreover, His Majesty occasionally taught and conducted scientific experiments for students at the Klaikangwon Palace School. He taught subjects such as rainmaking and soil science, for example.
"Teacher of the Land": such a prestigious title has been unanimously accorded His Majesty the King by all Thais, who honor him as a born teacher. His Majesty teaches and educates the people both in formal and non-formal education systems, through his activities and projects. It is His Majesty's wish that the people be developed in all aspects, academically and morally, as the foundation or tools for their livelihood. Those in various professions are made more efficient in their work. He seeks knowledge in various subjects himself, and disseminates his acquired knowledge to his subjects. As a true teacher, His Majesty has been able to educate vastly diverse groups of people at various levels, in accordance with the principles of an effective teaching and learning, by grouping the learners by their interest.
Through his great compassion towards his subjects, His Majesty has been persistent in providing knowledge to all the people. One can detect his noble intention from the introductory remark to the royal composition on The Story of Mahajanaka:
It was considered inopportune for King Mahajanaka to seek deliverance, as he had not yet brought full advancement to the City of Mithila. Various groups of people, in particular, were not knowledgeable and did not even reckon their own benefits. Therefore, a comprehensive training institution had to be established. It was perceived that King Mahajanaka would attain deliverance more easily if he could accomplish all of his royal activities for the people.
There is no denying that the quality of education is closely linked to the quality of the teachers. His Majesty the King attaches great importance to teachers, who are directly responsible for education, as he stated in a royal address:
Education and those directly responsible for it, namely teachers, are of great importance. The people's education is the indicator of the advancement or the decline of a country. The work of teachers therefore means the life or death of the country. Teachers have to be equipped with three significant qualities, namely good knowledge, good morality, and good ability, and should perform their duties completely and well.
His Majesty the King's concept of education involves the roles and duties of educators, or teachers. In his view, educators are obliged to "make good learners" so that they are able to earn their livelihood and be able to contribute to the country. In his royal address on 25 September 1978, His Majesty outlined the method to make good learners:
Give them good academic knowledge, accurate and solid, so that they are able and have principles in their practical work.
Train them mentally and morally, so that they know how to use reasoning and take responsibility for their actions, and that they do not abuse their knowledge by taking advantage of others.
Make them strong and healthy, physically and mentally.
Apart from mentioning the roles and the importance of teachers in education, His Majesty the King maintains that teachers must be knowledgeable both on the subject to be taught and the use of teaching methods. They must also uphold high moral standards. A royal address to teachers and students of the Klaikangwon Palace School on 17 June 1981 clearly reflected this concept:
For a teacher, it is important to conduct oneself well: first, to be truly respected and trustworthy, and second, to constantly train oneself, so as to be well-versed in the subject and the teaching method, and be able to pass on the knowledge to students with clarity and accuracy.
As for learners, what they get from the teacher - how it is taught and what learning method they use - depend on that knowledge, the teacher's method, and their own learning ability and desire for knowledge.
His Majesty the King pointed out in his royal address on 18 December 1970 the two kinds of knowledge gained from education are academic knowledge and moral knowledge, or Dhamma:
Education can be divided into two kinds of knowledge: first is the academic knowledge, which will be beneficial to oneself and the country, if applied after completing the course of learning; second is moral knowledge, or Dhamma, that is, learning how to conduct oneself. Both require wisdom on the part of the learner. But those who use only the academic knowledge, without moral knowledge, cannot be considered persons of wisdom.
Implied in the royal address is the principle of "knowledge with morality" and the twin factors of education: academic knowledge or knowledge in various disciplines, and moral knowledge, governing personal conduct and behavior.
Regarding "moral knowledge," His Majesty the King gave the following advice for "discipline and personality grooming," which teachers need to provide to the students they are in charge of:
To make the young grow up as good persons, we need education. In former days, the literacy rate in Thailand was quite high, compared with the rate in other countries. Those who could read and write were at a high percentage. This has perhaps declined since there is a large number of students, compared with the number of teachers. One might argue that advanced technologies are available these days, and expansion of the schooling system is possible. But nothing can replace discipline and personality grooming. If these two factors are absent, or if the persons in charge are of low quality, things could get worse, even with advanced technologies.
Mr. Khwankeo Vajarodaya, President of the Rajaprajanugroh Foundation under His Majesty's royal patronage, set up after a typhoon devastated the southern province of Nakhon Si Thammarat in 1962, told of His Majesty the King's sustained interest in underprivileged children in 39 Rajaprajanugroh schools all over the country, by granting clothes, school uniforms, books and stationery, and scholarships on a yearly basis. The schools are meant for children in poverty-stricken and disaster-hit areas, most of them orphaned or abandoned, as full boarding schools free of charge, providing education from first year of elementary level to the final year of upper secondary level, 12 years in total.
His Majesty gave the directive to school directors to train children to be disciplined, meticulous, and clean, in body and mind. They are trained to help themselves and to work together in teams, helping one another, keeping their schools tidy and orderly. They are taught moral values and given vocational training. Mr. Khwankeo said that one student at the Rajaprajanugroh School in Phon Phisai District, Nong Khai Province, used the knowledge to rear pigs and grow vegetables for sale to the school kitchen. Over time, he raised as much as 60,000 baht and gave all his saving to his grandmother to add an extension to the house.
His Majesty the King is a thinker and a practitioner at the same time. He conducts research studies and experiments with theories in seeking solutions to problems. As in the royal rainmaking operation, His Majesty assigned M.R. Debriddhi Devakul to study rainmaking techniques since 1956, by means of experimenting with various research studies from different sources until success was achieved.
His Majesty maintains that true knowledge comprises theory and practice, as stated in a royal address:
Those who lack theories have no academic principles, unlike people with theories, because they do not have the knowledge as the foundation for their work. But those with theories who never get to practice, or refuse to put theories to practice are inferior to the theorists who also practice, as the theorists without practice only make themselves and their knowledge irrelevant, unproductive, and unwanted.
In His Majesty's view, therefore, knowledge that is of utmost benefit must come from both theoretical and practical studies. He emphasizes practice in teaching and learning process, particularly subjects that require real practice, so that learners will get clear ideas. This was reflected in his royal address to headmasters and students of award-winning schools on 3 August 1988:
Subjects that are best learnt through practical studies must be taught through practice. Learning through direct practical experience results in true and clear knowledge that can always be resorted to because of expertise, in contrast with teaching without practice, which often turns into learning just to pass the examination, or learning to be forgotten.
Complete learning, therefore, must come from theoretical studies and practical studies, with the theories put to experimentation by learners themselves, so that they gain expertise and deeper knowledge in the subject.
His Majesty the King implemented this concept with the establishment of the "Royal Development Study Centers," which combined theories with practice. At the centers, research results undergo experiments to test for suitability for the intended areas.
His Majesty advised teachers to focus on developing the potential of students, taking into account each one's personality, as they all differed in ability and learning potential. He maintained that education should enable an individual to bring out his or her potential to maximum use. He emphasized the term "individual potential," implying different levels of ability and personality of learners, known as child-centered teaching, departing from teacher-centered method, or the "chalk and talk" teaching:
Education means guiding and promoting persons to progress in learning, thinking, and performing according to their own ability. The ultimate aim should be for each individual to be able to make the best use of his or her potential, to benefit oneself and others in harmony and without conflict or harassment.
He touched on the common learning process in a teaching session in a royal address on the eve of his birthday anniversary on 4 December 2003:
In Thailand today, they say that teachers impose their thinking on students. Now the new thinking of the Government seems to make students teach the teachers. That is impossible, as students are new to the world, without experiences. How can they teach? It is true that some teachers do not know how to teach. Some ministers also cannot teach. If properly done, students can teach, not directly teaching as such. But when they are in doubt, they should be allowed to pose questions. Teachers can then learn. But normally when they open their mouths to ask, teachers are annoyed. How do they dare to question the teachers? They feel slighted, and students are punished.
Dr. Kasem Wattanachai, a Privy Councilor, explained that teaching could be part of the learning process for teachers themselves, if they were devoted teachers, intent on imparting knowledge to students. The teaching remains the function of a teacher, but the teacher can learn at the same time, by opening up to questions from students:
When I was studying, I became interested in Mayan history. My classmates had not heard of this, it was not taught in school. So I had to teach the teacher. Isn't it strange? I followed the Prime Minister's policy even before he was born. I was teaching the teacher. But the teacher finally accepted it. It was good that it was accepted by the teacher.
In this anecdote, His Majesty was interested in the history of the Mayas, but the subject was not taught in school, so he did his own research and related the story to the teacher, in effect "teaching the teacher," and it was accepted by the teacher. The teacher regarded that as a learning session, with student participation. This became known as an innovation in the learning process, with teachers encouraging students to build their own knowledge, or the Constructivism theory, with children making their own projects and working on them, before reporting to the class. It also complies with the concept of the "learning school," in which learning is a process, not a product. School is thus transformed into a learning school, not just a teaching school, with teachers imparting the knowledge, and the students on the receiving end.
He also emphasized the need for learners to get in-depth knowledge of the subject and learn in a multidisciplinary method, covering related subjects at the same time.
His Majesty insists that all branches of academic knowledge are linked and that they contribute to one another. A discipline cannot be taught in isolation. In any operation, a multidisciplinary approach is needed. In his royal address given to headmasters and students of awarded schools on 3 August 1978, His Majesty said:
No matter how numerous disciplines one finds in the world, when something needs to be created, those disciplines must be used together, or adapted for use. As in a meal, before dishes are made ready for consumption, several methods are employed, with several steps involved. Educators, therefore, are obliged to make learners clearly understand that all subjects taught are linked and contributing to one another, both science and arts. No discipline can be applied separately or in isolation.
He took the view that, in reality, the solving of problems could never be based on any one theory or discipline. A multidisciplinary approach is needed. Therefore, learners have to study diverse subjects. Teaching, in his view, is the integration of related disciplines and subjects.
From his childhood, His Majesty the King has had an insatiable thirst for knowledge. He has become a thinker, a researcher, an experimenter, and an inventor. He pursued his many interests by himself, such as the assembling of a radio set from a manual. He assembled model ships and later racing boats, with names like Raj Patent, Mod, and Super Mod, in which he took part in races and won the gold medal in yachting in the fifth Southeast Asian Peninsula Games held in Bangkok in 1969. He later invented the Chaipattana Aerator, for which he was presented a patent.
As a learner, His Majesty the King would first specify his topics of interest, and then he sought information from documents, real objects, and from authoritative persons. He then proceeded to practicing, from experimenting, to actual undertaking.
He termed such an approach "learning wisely," as stated in his royal address at the commencement ceremony of Srinakharinwirot University on 22 June 1981:
Knowledge is of utmost importance, as it forges wisdom, ability, and progress. This is why we humans keep on studying endlessly. But, pondering on it, sometimes more studying and learning would not result in more wisdom or progress, if the studying is not properly done, and real knowledge is not obtained. It is therefore essential to study for wisdom, or to learn wisely, that is, learning what can be of real use, with no harm. The "learn wisely" method is based on two principles: first, a thorough study of a subject, not just some parts or certain aspects, and second, what needs to be always kept in mind, is impartiality, without influences, good or bad. Otherwise, the knowledge will be veiled or distorted and cannot be applied beneficially, without harm.
Rajabhat University has taken up the directive granted by His Majesty the King for a research and development project on the royally initiated learning pattern known as the "Learn Wisely" method, as a valid concept that results in true learning, and wisdom in learners, under the four principles of the "Learn Wisely" strategies:
Determination with faith, as the strong will to seek knowledge in good faith, from proper and careful consideration, with impartiality and rationality.
Seeking knowledge with morality, referring to self-development in the following manners:
In developing oneself, academic knowledge is needed for future work on the one hand, while moral knowledge is necessary for behavioral development on the other hand.
The learning has to be complete and thorough, with three means of learning, as explained in His Majesty the King's royal address on 25 June 1981, when he stated that one could learn in three ways, from others' acquired knowledge and ideas, through contemplating by oneself, and through practicing to achieve results. The three means of learning must be in harmony, contributing to one another. Such a complete learning results in desirable personal qualities such as diligence, perseverance, assiduity, and thoroughness.
The learning must be done with impartiality.
The learning needs to be complete and thorough, with the clear understanding that all disciplines are linked and contributing to one another.
Bringing the knowledge into real use wisely, that is, through the use of wisdom to adapt both theoretical and practical knowledge to suit the condition, with honesty and in good faith, showing responsibility toward the discipline and the public.
Keeping abreast with changes and new developments. Knowledge has to be reviewed and developed in line with the social conditions and the environment.
|Diagram 6: "Learn Wisely" Strategies
Another learning method suggested by His Majesty is accumulating, as continuous learning, building upon the existing accumulated knowledge as a strong foundation. In a royal address on 30 June 1976, he stated:
No academic knowledge can be acquired all at once. One has to gradually accumulate the knowledge until it is broad-based and comprehensive. In learning, it is necessary gradually to build up what is learnt, as the base for higher and more in-depth knowledge.
His Majesty not only stressed the accumulation of knowledge, but also emphasized the need to enhance the quality of education at all levels, from kindergarten and elementary schools, to prepare students for higher learning, as stated in a royal address on the eve of his birthday anniversary on 4 December 2003:
Talking about the well-being of the people, the improvement of education is essential. Without good education, people cannot earn their living. The emphasis must be at all levels. If we talk about higher education and the need for scientists of high standing, we must start from elementary or kindergarten levels. Without a good foundation, there is no way to build up higher levels of learning. Presently the base is still weak. When we build on such a foundation, something horrible such as bomb-makers might be the result.
His Majesty the King gave a warning about the need for a high quality of education at all levels. He pointed out that without a good and strong base, at elementary and secondary levels, higher education could not be built in a satisfactory way. Without good education, career development is affected.
In the field of distance learning, His Majesty the King granted start-up capital of 50 million baht, presented to him by the Telephone Organization of Thailand, for the setting up of the Distance Learning Foundation. According to Mr. Khwankeo Vajarodaya, President of the Foundation, His Majesty personally supervised the classroom configuration at Klaikangwon Palace School, where distance learning via television was established. He advised that the television sets be positioned at correct angles in the class of over 40 students, without sunlight glare that could disturb the students' view. He also suggested that video recordings be taken of lessons such as mathematics, science, and English, so that students who lagged behind could catch up later on. It was also suggested that teaching manuals be sent in advance to teachers on the receiving end before the start of the school year, so that they could prepare themselves for the sessions.
Apart from learning method, His Majesty on many occasions stated the subjects to be taught, emphasizing practical knowledge and morality:
Beside academic knowledge, children should be trained to work and to perform good deeds. Working enhances their capability, making them diligent, perseverant and self-reliant. Good deeds bring happiness and progress, and prevent them from decline.
His Majesty took these three aspects of learning - the academic, practical, and moral - which sum up the thrust of education and the main principle of learning that teachers and educators have long been familiar with, and linked them with the three domains of learning - cognitive, affective, and psychomotor.
His Majesty the King always emphasized the moral values of learners. In a royal address on 22 June 1979, he outlined seven desirable qualities of graduates, in addition to their knowledge and ability:
Those with academic knowledge must maintain good moral values to make the country survive and prosper. Those values are conscience - or knowing right and wrong - honesty in thought and deed, gratitude to the country and all protagonists, selflessness, non-aggression or non-harassment of others, sincerity and goodwill, and most importantly, diligence, doing the work oneself steadfastly, aiming for results. These qualities are factors that make education complete and beneficial.
The ultimate achievement of a learner as defined by His Majesty the King is wisdom. He maintains that educated persons must have both academic knowledge and moral knowledge. The two kinds of knowledge lead to wisdom, as he stated in his royal address delivered on 18 December 1970:
Education can be divided into two aspects: academic knowledge, which benefits oneself and the country when applied after completing the course of study, and moral knowledge or Dhamma, governing the conduct, the thought, the use of one's brain to benefit oneself. Dhamma is the code of conduct. Those with academic and moral knowledge have wisdom. But those who use only academic knowledge without Dhamma cannot be considered persons of wisdom.
In his royal address at the commencement ceremony of Chulalongkorn University on 14 July 1978, His Majesty gave his definition of wisdom in these words:
Wisdom can be defined as all knowledge, from learning, observation, contemplation, and self-training. With knowledge and expertise in certain fields, intelligence is attained by a person. More importantly, the knowledge and the intelligence combined result in a special ability, that is, a thorough and complete knowledge, making one fully aware of the thoughts, behavior, theories, and intentions of others that one is in contact with. With such insight, one can avoid obstacles, problems, and pitfalls, and proceed on an appropriate path towards success.
His Majesty the King suggested that graduates should possess wisdom, so that they would be deserving of accolades as persons of wisdom. The danger caused by the lack of wisdom is shown in a parable in the introductory remark to the royal composition The Story of Mahajanaka:
In 1977, His Majesty the King attended a sermon by the Venerable Somdej Phra Maha Viravong, Win Dhammasaro, of Wat Ratchaphatikaram, on King Mahajanaka when he visited the royal garden in the City of Mithila. At the entrance to the royal garden, there were two mango trees. One tree bears delicious fruit, the other fruitless. The King tasted the fruit, and went on to observe the garden. On his way back, he saw the mango tree with delicious fruit torn down by clambering members of his entourage, while the fruitless tree remained untouched. This clearly showed that anything good would be subject to a fight and thus harmed by those without wisdom.
The process of education philosophy of His Majesty the King has been summarized by Associate Professor Dr. Khunying Arom Chanuanchit, Vice President of Ramkhamhaeng University, who was granted the Rajaprajanugroh Foundation scholarship for her doctorate studies. Her summary is shown in the flow chart below.
|Diagram 7: Analysis of the Process of the Education Philosophy of His Majesty the King Rama IX
His Majesty the King's approach to teaching and learning as described above reflects his relentless work to solve problems of the country and the people throughout the past 60 years of his reign. His Majesty's working style can be summarized by three principles: thinking, or forming of clear ideas; academic undertaking, from his own research and from informed authorities; and practicing, with real experiments he carries out himself. His Majesty starts the process with the thinking, which is essential in bringing knowledge to real use. He suggested the proper means of forming thoughts in his royal address at the commencement ceremony of Ramkhamhaeng University on 26 October 1978:
Knowledge and thought, if we consider them carefully - the thought leads the knowledge; that is, thought must be formed before the knowledge can be applied. But thoughts differ. It can be the thinking for progress or thinking for disaster. The thinking for progress must be firmly based on neutrality and impartiality, not biased or influenced by prejudices. It must be based on sincerity and rationality, so that the real objectives and benefits of the operation can be set, along with the means to achieve the goal. It is only when such appropriate thoughts are formed that academic knowledge can be brought to full and real use, for complete benefits, success, and progress, with full efficiency.
His Majesty the King has been granting scholarships to all groups of people in the country. It can be said that no group has been neglected in his principle of education management, which is "Education for each and every one." His support for education spans from pre-school to post-graduate studies abroad. People are encouraged to acquire formal and non-formal education, as well as education at their own pace. The types of support he gives can be categorized as follows:
Granting of scholarships - His Majesty the King deems the development of the population with education as essential to national development. Since 1952, he has been granting scholarships for students with good behavior and school records, but who lack financial means, to pursue their studies up to doctorate degrees in foreign countries, with funds from the Bhumibol Fund and the Ananda Mahidol Fund, for instance.
Setting up of schools - His Majesty the King founded and promoted the establishment of numerous schools with different objectives, such as the following:
The Chitralada School, set up within Chitralada Villa, meant for royal children and children of members of the royal entourage, using the regular syllabus of the Ministry of Education, with classes from kindergarten to upper secondary levels.
The Rajavinit School, set up to provide free education to children of members of the royal entourage.
The Klaikangwon Palace School, set up in the reign of King Rama VIII, to provide education to children of officials who took care of the Klaikangwon Palace. It has been granted private funds by His Majesty the King to support the operation every year.
Currently, the Klaikangwon Palace School, in Hua Hin District, Prachuap Khiri Khan Province, has been producing and transmitting live programs for distance learning at 12 levels, as well as programs on vocational knowledge and college level programs, including a royally granted program called "Education Review" on the distance learning television network, 14 channels, 24 hours a day, directly to about 7,000 schools all over the country.
Schools for children in poverty and orphans - His Majesty the King granted his personal funds as seed money for schools to be set up in Buddhist temples, with Buddhist monks as teachers, for moral and academic knowledge. There are now several such schools:
Wat Sichan Pradit School, Bang Pu Mai Subdistrict, Muang District, Samut Prakan Province
Wat Santikaram School, Bu Phlap Subdistrict, Pak Tho District, Ratchaburi Province
Wat Pa Kai School, Muang District, Ratchaburi Province
Nanthaburi Witthaya School, Wat Chang Kham, Muang District, Nan Province
Wat Bang Bueng Lek School, Don Nang Hong Subdistrict, That Phanom District, Nakhon Phanom Province.
Schools for hill tribes and people in remote areas (BPP Schools), set up in mountainous, remote border areas, where the people have a high rate of illiteracy - His Majesty the King, Her Majesty the Queen, and Her Royal Highness the Princess Mother provided their personal funds, with donations by other well-wishers, to construct schools:
Chao Pho Luang Upatham Schools, built from His Majesty the King's private fund
Chao Mae Luang Upatham Schools, built from Her Majesty the Queen's private fund
Schools under the Royal Patronage of H.R.H. the Princess Mother, built with the Princess Mother's private fund, and named after persons or agencies that contributed to the construction costs, such as Chula-Thammasat School and B.P.P. Bamrung School, for example.
Schools created by various foundations - Major foundations involved with children and youth education are Rajaprajasamasai and Rajaprajanugroh Foundations.
In 1963, His Majesty the King graciously set up schools for children of leprosy patients, named Rajaprajasamasai School.
In that same year, the Rajaprajanugroh School was set up, for orphans from the natural disaster at Talumphuk Point in Nakhon Si Thammarat Province. In later years, schools were built for children born in poverty, or those at high risk from drug and human trafficking problems, as well as abandoned children or AIDS orphans. At present, there are 39 Rajaprajanugroh Schools.
Moreover, His Majesty the King founded several other schools and established scholarships, such as the Navarerk Fund in the Foundation for Needy Schoolchildren under royal patronage, enabling graduates of compulsory education who have good academic records and are of good behavior, but lack financial means, to further their studies at secondary, vocational, teachers' training, and university levels.
Because of the lack of schools in the provincial areas, His Majesty the King initiated the Rom Klao School in 1972, to provide secondary schooling facilities for children and youth in remote areas, so that they could pursue further studies at secondary levels in their localities.
He also set up the Hermit's School to provide short vocational courses for youths.
His Majesty the King's approach to education clearly reflects his strong commitment to extend education opportunities to people everywhere in the Kingdom, without discrimination of any kind.