Sonam Wangchuk is a 50-year-old engineer based out of Ladakh. He started Students’ Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh (SECMOL), an institution that has revolutionised educational scenario in rural Ladakh. Sonam has many feathers in his hat. From creating artificial glaciers to solve the water woes of Ladakh to converting humble students into movie makers, civil servants and ministers, Sonam has many interesting stories to share
In this podcast, he shares a successful case study from Ladakh, where education system was completely reformed with help of a few innovative decisions.
Government schools in Ladakh were in poor condition. About 95 percent of the students failed in 10th grade. Teachers would often skip schools, especially just before and after the vacations. A people-driven education reform movement was then started to improve the condition and make education as the priority.
To bring teachers back to school, 1st March was declared as “Teachers’ Welcome Day”, where the whole village would gather to welcome teachers with garlands, tea and gifts to celebrate their profession and encourage them to rejoin school after the vacation. After that, 15th December was celebrated as “Thanksgiving Day” because earlier teachers would leave for vacations almost a month before the actual vacation. This celebration ensured their presence till the very last working day of the school. This has led to school’s result to 75 percent success in last 15 years.
Further, those students who failed were sent to a special school where they engaged in practical learning. “This school does not produce masons or tailors, but has given film makers, civil servants and one of the students who failed five times in 10th, later became a journalist and then Education Minister of the region. The school is now under process of being extended to university level,” Sonam said.
Listen to the entire podcast to get a deeper insight on his work and how small solutions can lead to large scale change.
Photos: Sonam Wangchuk