30 October 2019
Bhubaneswar: Sonam Wangchuk the man whose life sketch inspired a character in the blockbuster movie '3 Idiots', delivered a lecture on '3R to 3H: The Next Learning Revolution' in the Lok Seva Bhawan under 21st Lecture of Odisha Knowledge Hub (OKH) series on Wednesday.
While deliberating on innovation, entrepreneurship, education, social empowerment and environment, Wangchuk emphasised on the implementation of 3H approach in education rather than the prevalent 3R approach, where 3H stands for Head, Heart and Hands and 3R stands for Reading, Writing and Arithmetic.
The lecture series was attended by senior officials of Government including officials of different Departments, eminent personalities from the field of education, science and technology and distinguished delegates with wide exposure in respective fields along with Ministers, MLAs, Departmental Secretaries and other concerned functionaries of the State Government.
Wangchuk is a Mechanical Engineer by education, who has been mostly working in the field of education reform for more than 30 years. In 1988, he founded SECMOL (Students' Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh) that aims to reform the government school system in Ladakh. In 1994 he was instrumental in the launch of Operation New Hope, a triangular collaboration of the government, village communities and the civil society, whose work has been instrumental in improving the pass percentage of 10th graders in the region from a dismal 5% to 75%.
For students who still failed in their State exams, he founded the SECMOL Alternative School Campus near Leh, a special school where the admission criterion is failure in exams and not grades. As an engineer, Wangchuk has been teaching innovation at the SECMOL Alternative School, where together with the students, he designed and built solar heated buildings that are low cost, made of earth/mud but maintain +15° C even when the outside temperature is —15° C in Ladakhi winters.
His 'Ice Stupa' artificial glaciers have claimed fame for helping solve the water crisis in the region due to climate change and fast melting glaciers The Ice Stupas store water in the winter in the form of giant ice cones or stupas, which melt over summer and provide water to the lands, just in time for irrigation.
He is now extending this experience of 'learning by doing' to higher education and is in the process of setting up Himalayan Institute of Alternatives, Ladakh (HIAL). Mr Wangchuk was granted several awards and titles such as Ramon Magsaysay Award 2018, ICA Honor Award 2017, San Francisco, CA, Rolex Awards for Enterprise, 2016, International Terra Award for best earth building, 2016 and Global Award for Sustainable Architecture.