It’s no secret that the Indian education system has its flaws, some more sinister than others but all fairly cringeworthy. But underneath that layer of insanity is a movement within the school system to inculcate a well-rounded and useful education. One of the agencies that follow this policy is The Students’ Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh (SECMOL). Since their formation in 1988 their reformative polices have changed the way young Ladakhis are educated.
Today, they run a campus (built with simple, low-cost traditional techniques) that is home to about 40 students and a few staff members in the village of Phey, about 18km from Leh, that is completely powered, and heated by, solar energy. SECMOL’s annual youth camps are massively popular, a meeting point for learning Ladakhi history and geography, English and the importance of solar energy and Ladakhi dances and games. SECMOL is open to volunteers, so if you’re looking for a couple of weeks teaching the kids, or training them in activities ranging from ice-skating and figure-skating to hockey, you should definitely check this out.
It’s heartening to see that they are pushing for education that is more ‘locally relevant’. It cannot be emphasised enough that education is meaningless unless it can be applied in the lives of the students on a day-to-day basis. The campus in Phey, inaugurated by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, is also run by the students, in a democratic way that instills in the kids a sense of being a responsible citizen. The consequence of such a varied education is a generation of students who are armed with the knowledge not only to better their hometowns but take on the rest of the world.