The world’s longest-serving monarch, Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej, passed away Thursday afternoon at the age of 88 following years of declining health.
However, he leaves behind a legacy that will be remembered by his people.
Throughout his 70-year reign, Bhumibol attached great importance to education, particularly the importance of life-long learning.
Thanks to his various education initiatives, from establishing schools to granting scholarships, the Thai people accorded him the title, “Teacher of the Land”.
In his many commencement speeches given over the years, he reminded every new batch of graduates to never stop learning or improving themselves.
Having been educated abroad – Bhumibol was a graduate of University of Lausanne in Switzerland – he was a strong proponent of studying overseas, and even revived an annual scholarship program to send Thais to pursue their undergraduate studies at foreign universities.
Besides that, Bhumibol urged Thais to embrace the “learn wisely” method of learning, a concept that he developed.
Here we’ll share 6 of the best quotes by Bhumibol which encapsulate his enduring commitment to life-long learning and ensuring that education opportunities would be extended to all in his kingdom.
1. On the importance of a good education
“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.”
2. On how learning never ends
“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.”
3. On what education means to him
“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.”
4. On the two kinds of knowledge
“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.”
5. On the benefits of practical experience
“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.”
6. On how knowledge must be built up over time
“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.”