The removal of Article 370 has garnered extreme reviews from people world over. While countries like Pakistan are using this as an opportunity to interfere in India’s internal matters, the Ladakhi community has come out in full support of the decision. Ladakh is now a full-fledged Union Territory and the BJP’s MP from this region Jamyang Tsering Namgyal, who has shot into limelight with his fiery speech in the Parliament made us aware the unsteady state of educational affairs in the region.
Namgyal mentioned that the Congress party has only given a step-motherly treatment to the citizens of Ladakh by reducing the locals to the status of education refugees.
He mentioned that this situation made the local citizens migrate to different cities to avail education. Namgyal also mentioned that the bifurcation of Jammu & Kashmir as Union territories was a welcome change and that Ladakh had not undergone any sort of development since it was under Kashmir.
Previously education did not have a formal structure in the Ladakh region with an exception to the Buddhist monastery. There was again a limitation of one son per family who could learn the holy Tibetan scriptures. The other children mostly learned livelihood with involvement in the community through farming and other practices of the Ladakhi culture. The first formal western schooling system came into being during the 1970s by the Britishers. The 1990s still marked the lowest performance in the Ladakhi state Matriculation examination which was 5% in the year 1997.
One of the main challenges was teaching language. The textbooks were in Urdu up until class VIII. The English language was introduced later to that and the students were expected to learn English in a shorter span and leads to failure in examinations. It would be impossible to talk about the education system at Ladakh and not mention the Student’s Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh (SECMOL).
The education system that was led by the Jammu education board which was centralized in Shrinagar lead to dissatisfaction among the students regarding the government schools. Five young Ladakhi college students established SECMOL in the year 1988. The beauty of SECMOL is that the students have the power to decide on various aspects of running the campus. These decisions include the cafeteria, facilities maintenance, collection of finance collection through volunteers, and the teaching staff. This system empowers and builds confidence.
The recent removal of Article 370 has boosted the hopes of the local citizens of Ladakh. They are now hopeful of many positive changes in the local education system and are looking forward to the infusion of fresh ideas about both regular and special education in Ladakh.
Education sector in Ladakh needs an update on the existing system, there is also a dire need of new educational institutions and an array of courses to be designed. The courses need to facilitate and create job opportunities in the area thereby improving its economic situation.
The recent political changes have brought about a breath of fresh air to the locals and they are hoping for a boost by the government in the educational sector. The development of the education sector may require heavy investment not only on infrastructure but also on a multitude of things about the current education scenario considering the extreme weather conditions and educational background of the locals. The changes are were due for a long time and is going to change the Ladakhi education sector in leaps and bounds.