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KBank implements “Nan Cultivation of Wisdom” project to promote new ways of learning among youths

          In continual support of the "Cultivation of Wisdom" project, KBank has joined hands with the University of Phayao to implement the "Nan Cultivation of Wisdom" project at 30 selected schools in Nan province, beginning in the 2019 academic year. With the aim of promoting research-based learning among today's youths under the community participation model, the project has successfully changed the learning concepts among participating students, who are able to apply research-based thinking in a sustainable manner.
          Dr. Adit Laixuthai, Senior Executive Vice President of KBank, said that throughout the past six years (2012-2018), the Cultivation of Wisdom project, jointly funded by the Thailand Research Fund (TRF) and KBank, has provided research grants to students in participating schools to find solutions for developing education via research-based projects, to serve as a stepping stone for skill-based learning processes. To this end, research-based projects are an essential tool to encourage students in their learning, seeking solutions with analytical and synthetic thinking through "Questioning is teaching, reflecting is learning, and writing is thinking" processes in accordance with scientific paradigm. Aligned with the country's development, this will pave the way for the creation of globally competitive innovations. The Cultivation of Wisdom project is, in essence, based on the Sufficiency Economy Philosophy (SEP), initiated by His Majesty the Late King Bhumibol Adulyadej, which is an approach for sustainable development through knowledge and virtue. 
          Through the combination of SEP and STEM scientific method, the "SEEEM Concept of the Cultivation of Wisdom" project has been developed, comprising scientific, economical, ecological, engineering and mathematical aspects. Both teachers and students have been equipped with this new learning concept with the aim of eradicating poverty, reducing social inequality and creating educational equality. With the introduction of research-based learning (RBL) under the Cultivation of Wisdom project, significant change has been evident. Participating students can create more sophisticated projects which reflect virtue-based concepts. 
          The success of the Cultivation of Wisdom project is clearly seen from improvements in the thinking and learning of participating students. This has prompted KBank and the University of Phayao to use guidelines from the Cultivation of Wisdom project implemented in Phayao and Chiang Rai for six years to expand such results to junior high school students (Grade 8-9) at 30 participating schools in Nan. This time, it is aimed at creating sustainable life-long learning networks via analysis and synthesis from the RBL process under the local context in order to instill principles of natural resource and environmental conservation, as well as an awareness of ecosystem balance, in master teachers. In addition, master teachers will be encouraged to use local arts, culture, history and wisdom in the learning process, as well as reducing social inequality, and improving human resources that are valuable to the economic systems of local communities, based on scientific, technological and innovative knowledge. Knowledge in sciences, mathematics, economics, society, culture and history will be provided to master teachers, as well. The Cultivation of Wisdom project in Nan will focus on using natural and systematic research techniques to improve teaching at the targeted schools. It will also develop a mechanism to support joint operations with local agencies to build sustainability and steer Nan's educational development towards becoming a prototype for other areas in the future. 
          Dr. Adit added that although Nan has strengths in terms of unique arts and culture that are still practiced by its residents, it has its weaknesses too, as evidenced by the fact that its efforts to conserve forests and the natural environment, especially in Thailand's most important watershed areas, have been undermined by economic interests. Therefore, building knowledge based on the cultivation of wisdom should help youths to understand and establish a deep bond with local communities, and thus be ready to create a balance among the people, arts, culture, nature and the environment. Such skills and processes will be transferred to master teachers and students participating in the "Nan Cultivation of Wisdom" project. Subsequently, RBL will be used to create a curriculum integrating various branches of knowledge for use as a prototype to address education problems and for the creation of similar concepts elsewhere. Such a prototype could be used to develop a data set and knowledge about forests that could be used for the Rak Pa Nan (Care for Nan Forest) project.