While some have a vision, only a few work hard on them to bring them to fruition. Sonam Wangchuk is a Ladakh-based engineer and brainiac who has genuinely revolutionised how we look at learning and education. The 55-year-old has been an inspiration roughly inspired by the famous character of Rancho aka Phunsukh Wangdu from the popular Bollywood movie '3 Idiots'. Wangchuk worked as an educational reformist and an environmental activist and is also the founder of the Ladakh Students' Educational and Cultural Movement (SECMOL), which came into existence in 1988.
Wangchuk has managed to transform the educational sphere in Ladakh by bringing skill-based and learning-oriented learnings to assist individuals in finding engaging ways to learn and soar towards better employability.
Ladakh is an entirely different landscape, a cold desert at high altitudes, and the region was virtually unexplored until the 1960s. The mountain life comes with scenic views but costs hardships in many ways, with education being one of the aspects that have suffered a lot in this part of the country.
Origin Of Students' Educational & Cultural Movement Of Ladakh
Belonging from Ladakh, Sonam knows that the education provided in the mountain region is not adequate enough to survive in the employment world. A lack of infrastructure is the leading cause of the lack of education in the area. As he puts it, "the current education system is doubly painful and irrelevant for mountain children." Until recently, 95 per cent of Ladakhi students failed all-important board exams, according to Your Story.
The 55-year-old visionary was utterly disappointed by Ladakh's education system. Due to the lack of education, most students would fail and those who managed to pass, got labelled 'unemployable.' After witnessing the miserable condition of Ladakh's students, Sonam got prompted and decided to establish the Students' Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh (SECMOL) in 1988.
SECMOL was founded by a group of students, including Sonam Wangchuk, with the goal of bringing educational reforms to Ladakh's government school system. This educational movement welcomes students who have failed in traditional schooling through a combination of counselling, introspection, and experiential learning. It incorporated new ways of education by focusing on life skills and engaging learning methods, such as setting the time zone one hour ahead of Indian Standard Time (IST) to ensure that the individuals sleep early and wake up at sunrise.
SECMOL Mission and Vision
They provided a learning environment for the students. Not only in their heads but also in their hearts and with their hands. Sonam describes this model as having a "bright head, skilled hands, and a kind heart." The plan was to let the students run the school, from constructing the eco-friendly mud structures to cooking food and managing the finances. The students learned on the job, and the results were fantastic, and they were also employed. The school acted as a support for the students who failed their board exams multiple times before enrolling in SECMOL and are now successful adults.
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