Himalayan Institute of Alternatives, Ladakh (HIAL) – SECMOL

SECMOL (Student Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh)with over 25 years of experience in running a practically engaging alternative school is the co-founder of HIAL (Himalayan Institute of Alternatives, Ladakh) along with His Holiness Chetsang Rinpochey who is supporting as the Chief patron and the Ladakh Hill Council Government who has allotted 200 acres of land. HIAL will engage youth from Ladakh, the Himalayas and other mountains of the world in finding their own solutions to the challenges facing them – a spirit that is epitomized by the Ice Stupa Artificial Glacier project. It will be a non- sectarian international institute.

More details:
Ladakh does not have any functional university and therefore 15,000 youths have to go as educational refugees to big cities in the plains where they learn little that is of relevance to the mountains. The annual cost of this exercise to the poor parents of this impoverished region is estimated to be equivalent to the entire revenue from Ladakh’s famous tourism industry. This is true of many mountain regions in the Himalayas and the world. So we wanted to start an alternative university that would serve not only Ladakh but many mountain countries in the world and engage their youth in finding many Ice Stupa like solutions to their peculiar problems. For mountain regions like Ladakh which are not only ethnic and linguistic minorities but also climatic and technological minorities, such a university for indigenous research and development is a need of the hour. Our bigger and wilder vision is in fact to change the way the universities work in general throughout the world. With just chalk, talk and paper… paper knowledge, paper exams and paper degrees, where most students come out unskilled and unemployable.

The university will be all built of natural materials like earth and powered by the sun, watered by ice stupas and nurtured by humans. It will be a place where our youth learn by doing things, working in teams, making mistakes but guided by experienced facilitators.

Based on the principles of SECMOL but much larger in scale & scope, the university will be a place where our youth learn by doing things, working in teams, making mistakes but guided by experienced facilitators…for example the school of business and entrepreneurship will have actual companies on campus, school of hospitality and tourism will run high end hotels and tourism programs, the school of education will have innovative schools running where young people can learn on the job and come out prepared for the real world. This is what is missing today and hence we find that most of our university products are unemployable. No wonders employers have to retrain them on the job at great expense. Here the education will not be limited to the 3Rs…(Reading wRiting and aRithmatic ) all too much to do with the head alone…But 3Hs…where skills of the Hands and kindness of the heart are given equal importance…

This project is proposed on roughly 200 acres of land allotted by the Ladakh Hill Council Government. It will engage youth from Ladakh, the Himalayas and other mountains of the world in finding their own solutions to the challenges facing them – a spirit that is epitomized by the ice stupa project. It will be a non- sectarian international institute with a local governing board representing all sections of the society. SECMOL with over 25 years of experience in running a similar practically engaging alternative school will be the co-founders and the university will tailor make courses that are meaningful to life in the mountains and the world in general ranging from passive solar heating and energy solutions to climate change adaption to the liberal arts.

For further info, please visit the website: http://hial.co.in/

Link to HIAL Crowdfunding: http://milaap.org/fundraisers/ hial

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