Foundation Year is a year-long residential programme for 40 students from Ladakh aged 16-18:
- youth who failed class 10
- students who passed class 10 but want a gap year for learning
A typical day of Foundation Year is packed with activities from early morning to late evening.
- Basic English
- English conversation with volunteers
- Science: solar energy, health, nature, environmental studies
- Responsibilities for running the campus and daily work hour
- Morning talk about current issues and self development
- Evening activities include traditional song and dance or a fun dance party; quiz competition; games; debate; movie; etc.
Classes that run for part of the year or alternate with each other:
- Ladakhi history and geography
- Ladakhi language and literacy
- Basic maths
- Library hour
- Workshops on special topics, creative activities, first aid, etc.
Some other activities and types of learning:
- Traditional Ladakhi songs and dances
- Responsibility for running the campus
- Daily work hour
- Chance to run in a marathon, or learn ice skating and other sports
- Public speaking
- Critical thinking, discussion, informal debate
Most Foundation Year students come from rural villages and studied in government schools. We welcome students of every religion, ethnicity, caste, gender and region. We have had students who were Buddhist, Shia, Sunni, Christian, Nepali; from every part of Leh District, Kargil, Zangskar, and even from the Padder region of Jammu; the only restriction is that they must be able to understand Ladakhi because other than English class and conversation, most of our classes and activities are in Ladakhi. Students are selected on the basis of their interest in this kind of learning, and preference is given to students from disadvantaged backgrounds (drop-outs of suitable age, orphans, children of single or disabled parents, low caste, child servants, etc.) and also to applicants from regions, religions or ethnicities that we don’t have many students from.Video and articles about Foundation Year
30 min film by Kashmir University: SECMOL: The School for Norphel about a student in Foundation Year, 2013.
8 min video by Accessible Horizon Films, about Foundation Year, 2012. On On YouTube or Vimeo.
Article in Learning Curve, Azim Premji Foundation: “Creating an enabling learning environment at 12,000 feet: SECMOL Alternative Institute” by Avinash Kumar, 2014.
43 min film by SECMOL Media about Foundation Year. In Ladakhi.