Contact innovator

Tshering Nidup
Ribbon HUNDRED 2021
The Five Areas of Development is a holistic approach to learning for Cerebral, Emotional, Physical, Social and Spiritual development.

5 Areas of Development

location_on Bhutan
5 Areas of Development is a practical model that changes the focus of education to be more holistic. The goal is to show young people that the 5 dimensions of Cerebral, Emotional, Physical, Social and Spiritual are at-least as important aspects to a person as traditional academics in school.
Arun Kapur, 5 Areas for Development Creator
Teachers ask students to demonstrate what they have learnt, transforming learning into something they want to do. Students begin to teach their peers and become leaders in their own right.

Arun Kapur, 5 Areas for Development Creator


HundrED has selected this innovation to

HundrED 2021

HundrED 2020

HundrED 2019

HundrED 2018

Key figures

Innovation Overview

Target Group
2 500
112 848
Updated on June 18th, 2021
about the innovation

What are the 5 Areas of Development?

In an era of unprecedented change, particularly stemming from rapid technological progress, what can we do to ensure that learners have the skills they need in order to succeed in all areas of their life?  What will the future look like in a decade from now? What are we preparing our learners for?

The Five Areas of Development is a holistic approach to learning that strives to break down the silos in education and ensure the development of a learner in all Five areas of Development - Cerebral, Emotional, Physical, Social and Spiritual. Through this process of development, we hope to inspire our learners and equip them with the skills and processes that will help them navigate new content and challenges that the future might present.

The Royal Academy, a residential school in Bhutan, has developed a holistic curriculum focusing on the 5 Areas of Development. Each area is given equal weighting and the interconnection between all areas is emphasised.

Cerebral development (the academic area) emphasises communication, comprehension, critical thinking and curiosity to enhance academic learning.

Physical development focuses on health, fitness and sports.

Social development supports students to get involved in their communities, work towards common goals and understand themselves and others.

Spiritual development is focused on core values, awareness and practice, rather than on a particular religion.

Emotional development encourages learners to pay attention to their emotions in order to identify, understand and express them positively and productively.

The structure of the school day guides holistic development. The day begins with student-led group physical exercise followed by reflective mindful practice. Students then participate in six learning experiences, one of which is another physical activity. Learners are able to flow between the learning experiences based on preference for teaching style should they wish to do so. Based on the individual passions of the students, teachers will provide feedback to the development coordinators to ensure the curriculum covers all areas of interest.

The goal is to help all students actualise their potential. There is a strong focus on assessing students against themselves, not each other. Teachers also focus on their own development in order to support this holistic environment, becoming co-learners in the model.

Over the last couple of years, the innovation has been adopted by the Vasant Valley School,  Pallavan Learning Centre, New Delhi and Paradise Valley school, Oman.

A brief overview of how the innovation looks in practice can be found here

A short video from the innovator, Mr Arun Kapur, can be viewed here

 School at The Royal Academy’s COVID response

When the students left the campus on the 22nd of March, individualized work for two weeks was sent. In the meantime, teachers collected information on each student regarding their access to devices and the internet. Students living in all 20 Dzongkhags (districts) of Bhutan and limited access to the internet were the major challenges. Using this data, learning experiences were individualized to the level of each student in the Five Areas of Development and their access to devices and the internet.

The mentor meetings continued every week and the mentors kept track of the growth of each of their mentees based on their Roadmaps. The design of the learning experiences allowed students to learn and contribute to their communities. The student, their mentor, parents and the teachers collaborated on the creation of the reports that describe the learning journey of the students.  

How did we support them during COVID-19 pandemic - Paradise Valley school, Oman

  • A team is also creating learning materials that can be broken into a range of formats (High definition videos to SMS), taking the concepts that are applicable worldwide while using the analogies from Bhutan. These could be shared through different platforms to be used by learners across the world.  
  • How did we support them during COVID-19 pandemic - Paradise Valley school, Oman
  • Created short videos with activities they could do at home with parents and siblings - creating the social group for learning
  • Encouraged parents to create videos when the children were doing those activities and share
  • Checked in on individual students and their families for emotional support
  • Staff created story reading videos in English and Arabic
  • Story reading - on social-emotional areas
  • Yoga lessons
  • All lines of communications were open.- Used emails, WhatsApp, Class dojo
  • For staff as well there were regular meetings and daily phone calls from the head of school, especially for the expatriate teachers staying alone.
  • Online resources were shared periodically bearing in mind screen time

We have also compiled a comprehensive list of online resources to help learners in their growth in all the Five Areas of Development. We hope you are able to contextualise the collated resources to aid your learners actualise their potential in all areas of development. You can access it here.

We also carried out three closed group webinars on the following topics. If interested, you can access those reports below:

1) Nurturing learners in the time of COVID 19

2) The Future of Learning

3) Framework for safe reopening of schools

You can read more on Arun's musings on education here.


HundrED Academy Review

The holistic approach of this innovation can have a huge impact on student wellbeing and learning. It is also a low tech solution, which increases the scalability in low connectivity regions.

- HundrED Academy Member

I believe simple things as training for teachers are the greatest innovation! And the 5 skills are really very important for kids, for humans and humankind!

- HundrED Academy Member
5 Areas of Development is a practical, multi-dimensional model aiming to address the needs of students through changing the focus of education. The concept, ideas and intention of the 5 Areas of Development could be easily used and adapted in other schools around the world to enrich any school curriculum.
Academy review results
High Impact
Low Scalability
High Impact
High Scalability
Low Impact
Low Scalability
Low Impact
High Scalability
Read more about our selection process

See this innovation in action


Achievements & Awards

October 2020
5 Areas of Development took part in the World Education Week
January 2020
Blockcerts issued to learners to enable them to take ownership of their learning achievements.
December 2019
The Innovator, Arun Kapur, has been awarded the Druk Thuksey in recognition of his extraordinary services to Bhutan by His Majesty the King of Bhutan.
August 2019
Scaled to Oman
July 2019
Summer Retreat for Teachers from Ministry of Education, Bhutan on the learning process of 5 Areas of Development
May 2019
November 2018
HundrED 2019
September 2017
HundrED 2018
September 2017
Innovation page created on

Spread of the innovation

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Inspired to implement this? Here's how...

Integrate the 5 Areas of Development into the school's learnin...
Before adopting the 5 Areas of Development, a mindset shift at the school may be needed, along with some practical preparations.
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Create individual roadmaps
These roadmaps set out the plans and visions of each individual student and teacher at the school.
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Create a roadmap for the whole school
Begin the process of combining individual roadmaps to eventually create a whole school roadmap.
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Incorporate the 5 Areas of Development into the curriculum
Sports, reflection and contemplation are included in the curriculum every day, and nature retreats are organised twice a year to give students a different kind of learning experience.
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Redesign assessment methods
Through the 5 Areas of Development, a range of methods are used to assess learners' progress.
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Continuously evolve the curriculum
The curriculum is dynamic, with a focus on skills and processes over content.
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