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University of Oregon

Publication Date

Fall 12-1-2014

Program Name

Nepal: Tibetan and Himalayan Peoples

Abstract

The way an individual is educated has an incredibly large impact on the rest of their lives. The support, information, and opportunities they receive from a young age affects who they will eventually become as adults. In the most Northern Region of India, located on the old Silk Road, lies Ladakh-­‐ a place with unique peoples and a unique culture. After having been impacted by multiple different cultures, it is a region that has developed its own style of thinking and being. However, after the creation of the Independent Indian National State, in 1947, Ladakh has been incorporated into a homogenized nation state. India, with so many different cultures and languages to represent, has created multiple different boards of education that attempt to divvy up and educate different regions with different cultural systems. Leh, being the capital of Ladakh, and the quickly expanding and developing hub of the region, was chosen as the location for this paper due to the easier access provided by this up and coming development (Figure 1). The region of Ladakh is relatively large and the population sparsely covers, what is often called, an extremely difficult terrain (Figure 2). However, in spite of the challenging terrain, Ladakh has managed to create an education system that covers the span of the region, providing education to students in every corner of the area. These schools include government funded facilities, privately funded institutions, as well as monastic and other religiously founded schools. The diversity of education found in Leh alone is quite astounding, which has its own history for being. This paper will attempt to spell out this diversity as well as explain how this diversity is/is not simultaneously maintaining the uniqueness of Ladakhi culture. To conduct research for this project, I chose to live at SECMOL (Student’s Educational and Cultural Movement Of Ladakh), which rests just outside of Leh proper, in a town called Phey. SECMOL is an NGO established institution, founded in 1988 by five young college students, including Sonam Wangchuk (who currently runs the establishment), where young Ladakhi students who are either attending college in the capital, or have been unable to pass a board examination in their government schools from tenth standard up, live to further their studies. The research was conducted over the course of just under a month (from November 3rd, 2014 until November 25th 2014), which was the duration of my stay at the school. Research at the school was conducted through participant, as well as non-­‐ participant observation, which were further supported by research pulled from textual sources. Research for institutions outside of the school was gained through conducting interviews with different individuals representing the institutions.

Disciplines

Asian Studies | Education | Educational Leadership | Educational Methods | Other Educational Administration and Supervision

 

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