OPEN LETTER TO CHAIRMAN OF THE LADAKH AUTONOMOUS HILL DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL, LEH
Sh. Rigzin Spalbar,
Chairman, LAHDC Leh.
As Executive Councillor Education, LAHDC Leh, you must be aware that LAHDC, in collaboration with SECMOL and J&K Board of School Education (JKBOSE), had produced and published a series of special textbooks for Ladakh region in 2002 -2003.This was done keeping in mind the distinct environment and culture of Ladakh which also forms part of the preamble of the formation of the Hill Councils of Leh and Kargil. These textbooks were produced by a team comprising of Department of of Education LAHDC, SECMOL and with participationof several reputed Institutions in the country such as Eklavya, Kalpvriksh and NCERT Delhi.
These books were admired nationally by experts at institutions like NCERT and were considered a first ever example of a District/region making its own textbooks relevant to its own culture and environment. Inspired by Ladakh’s initiative J&K Board which was hitherto copying the NCERT textbooks, started publishing its own state relevant textbooks. In 2006 these textbooks were formally released by the then President of India Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam with high appreciation, during his visit to Ladakh.
All this was possible due to the efforts of the LAHDC Leh, SECMOL and most especially Mr. Rigzin Jora who personally intervened with J&K Board for the acceptance of the Ladakhi textbooks in the Board’s list. As a result, the ONH textbooks were taken over and published by the J&K Board for free distribution under SSA. This was indeed no mean achievement for LAHDC and definitely a step in the direction of realizing one of the main goals in LAHDC’s Vision Document.
However sir, my questions to you are:
1. Despite all the above how is it that currently the Hill Council is on its way to remove these textbooks from all the government schools. DIET Leh is already carrying out exercises to choose between different private publishers of private school textbooks; meanwhile some of the ‘Model Schools’ of the Hill Council have already discarded the Hill Council’s own textbooks and are using textbooks from different private schools.I would like to ask you if as EC education, you are aware of these developments, and if so why is this happening?
2. Normally it is mandatory even for all Private Schools,which come under the J&K Board to use the books that are prescribed/published by the State Board.I would like to know as to why instead of enforcing this norm the Hill Council is doing the opposite.
3. LAHDC’s Vision Document “Ladakh 2025” that is supposed to guide Council,clearly states on page 52:
“Locally relevant textbooks and teaching-learning methods (TLMs) should be used, with perhaps a separate curriculum for nomadic children”
Why is the Hill Council going in the opposite direction of this vision that was laid out by the Council itself?
4. The funds for free distribution of textbooks under SSA are normally reserved for the books prescribed/published by the State Board. Therefore does it mean that in future children in the village schools will have to pay for all the expensive private textbooks, while letting the SSA funds go back?
5. Finally I would like to know if a decision of this magnitude that will have long standing effects on education of Ladakhi children, was taken formally in the General Council of LAHDC? If no, then is there any formally recorded decision to this effect?
I shall highly appreciate if you could throw some light on these issues for the general public to understand.
Advisor SECMOL 10th November, 2013