Fostering Creativity, Leadership, and Sustainability
You may find the latest developments below:
Reflective Teens, recognizing the educational gaps in Bangladesh and its commitment to fostering creativity, proposes the establishment of RT Academy, a groundbreaking learning complex in Rangamati Hill Tracts, designed to provide alternative education, empower local communities, and ensure the sustainability of its programs. RT Academy aims to create a vibrant and inclusive learning environment that nurtures creativity, develops leadership skills, and promotes sustainability.
Reflective Teens has been working with the schools and helping them create a conducive environment for fostering creativity in their respective school facilities. In 2013, recognizing the absence of a dedicated platform for high school students to showcase their creative works in Bangladesh, I initiated the creation of a web magazine called Reflective Teens. Over time, it evolved into the largest teen-based creative platform in the country. In 2018, we adjusted our approach to delve deeper into the issue and established a nationwide school network comprising 600 schools. We launched year-long flagship programs to inspire and nurture creativity. In 2021, we reassessed our strategy to address external factors affecting the efficiency of our programs. We designed colorful play zones for schools without playgrounds, fostered a mindset of accepting diversity through introducing exchange programs, and enhanced creative skill development in marginalized high schools. As we approach a decade of activity in 2023, consolidating our resources and experiences, we are constructing our own learning complex, designed to facilitate alternative education for students and is expected to be completed by the end of 2025. The complex will have three facilities: Schooling, Training and Residence
The current education model falls short for several reasons. Firstly, it adheres to a one-size-fits-all approach, neglecting the diverse socio-economic backgrounds of students. This uniform curriculum fails to address the varying needs and circumstances of individuals, contributing to a lack of inclusivity.
Secondly, the existing system imposes a rigid 16-year-long academic journey to attain graduation. This extensive timeline is not practical for many individuals, particularly those from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. For families facing financial challenges, the prospect of sending their children through such a prolonged educational trajectory becomes less appealing, especially when immediate economic support is crucial.
Recognizing these shortcomings, RT Academy seeks to revolutionize education by addressing these key issues. The academy acknowledges the need for a more tailored approach, catering to the specific socio-economic context of the hill tract area of Rangamati, Bangladesh.
In collaboration with esteemed institutions such as the University of Dhaka and Chittagong, as well as NGOs, RT Academy’s curriculum is meticulously crafted. It aims to strike a balance between short-term practical skills and long-term academic pursuits. By doing so, the academy not only provides immediate benefits for students but also ensures that education remains accessible and relevant to the unique needs of the community.
RT Academy envisions an educational institution that goes beyond conventional learning paradigms, providing students with a unique blend of academic excellence, creative expression, and a strong sense of community engagement. The academy aims to empower students to become not only proficient professionals but also responsible and compassionate leaders, deeply connected to their local communities.
- Foster Creativity: RT Academy will develop a comprehensive curriculum that integrates creative skill development alongside traditional subjects. The goal is to encourage holistic growth, critical thinking, and a passion for lifelong learning.
- Community Empowerment: Through mandatory community service programs, students will actively engage in initiatives that promote local leadership, representation, and the preservation of indigenous languages. RT Academy aims to be a catalyst for positive change in the communities it serves.
- Alternative Education: The academy will offer contextual skills training to local community members, ensuring that the education provided aligns with the unique challenges and opportunities of the region.
- Schooling Facility: Structured with a student government, the schooling facility will emphasize community service, creative learning, and a curriculum that combines traditional subjects with practical applications.
- Training Facility: Dedicated to providing contextual skills training for local community members, this facility will offer workshops, hands-on experiences, and mentorship programs tailored to the needs of the region.
- Residence Facility: A safe and supportive environment for students, university exchange participants, and guests from other NGOs and universities. This facility will foster a sense of community and provide a conducive space for learning and collaboration.
- Local Leadership Development: RT Academy will collaborate with community members to identify and groom leaders who will represent their indigenous communities on national platforms. Leadership training programs and mentorship initiatives will be implemented.
- Language Preservation: The academy will take initiatives to preserve endangered indigenous languages through education, community engagement, and documentation. Language preservation programs will be integrated into the curriculum.
- Global Exchange: RT Academy will facilitate exchange programs with university students from diverse backgrounds. This initiative aims to promote cultural exchange, skill-sharing, and community service, fostering a global perspective among the students.
Financial Sustainability Plan:
- Community Tourism: RT Academy will actively market itself as a destination for community tourism, attracting visitors from across the country and the world. The revenue generated will support the academy’s initiatives and contribute to the local economy.
- Traditional Crafts Market: The academy will train local artisans, collect their crafts, and establish a market to sell these traditional products globally. This initiative will create a sustainable income source for the community and preserve local craftsmanship.
- Training and Residential Facilities for NGOs and Universities: RT Academy will offer its state-of-the-art facilities to external organizations for workshops, conferences, and learning experiences. This will not only generate revenue but also contribute to knowledge sharing and collaboration.
– Jan 2024: Land Acquired
– June 2024: Fund Raised
– July 2024: Construction Materials Bought
– Aug 2024 to Dec 2024: Construction Completed
– Jan 2025: RT Academy Launched
About the founder:
Yusuf Munna, the founder of Reflective Teens Trust, a leading teen-based creative platform, has dedicated the past decade working with schools and helping them enhance the learning environment and create a conducive environment for fostering creativity in Bangladesh. His work has been replicated in South and South-East Asia. His transformative initiatives have earned recognition, including the highest accolade for youth in Bangladesh by the government, Joy Bangla National Youth Award 2021, Ashoka Young Changemaker, the Diana Award 2021. Reflective Teens is acclaimed as one of the 20 innovative social enterprises by RIVET.
Yusuf is not only a prominent figure in youth education and culture but also engages in public policy and development economics, contributing op-ed columns to the Dhaka Tribune, The Business Standard and hosting the “Yusuf Asks” podcast. Additionally, he has been chairing environmental sustainability through GenFuse, a consortium of youth-led organizations, showcasing his commitment to positive change on multiple fronts. Yusuf is also volunteering as a Global Shaper at World Economic Forum – Chittagong Hub.
RT Academy aspires to be a transformative force in education, fostering creativity, leadership, and sustainability. With your support, we can bring this vision to life, creating an institution that not only enriches the lives of students but also empowers local communities and contributes to the cultural richness of Bangladesh.