Beyond 3 R’s, the 3 H’s … Heads, Hands and Heart – Sonam Wangchuk on Education

The Students’ Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh (SECMOL) was founded in 1988 by a group of young Ladakhis to reform the educational system of Ladakh. Founder Sonam Wangchuk talks about the reforms needed in Education on this Teachers day. In his own words…
Sonam Wangchuk school
“We often discuss what is good education? I feel, that when it comes to education, we talk about, or write about only things to do with the intellect.
Education, or grooming any person, is not about the head or the 3 R’s (Reading, Writing, ‘Rithmetic). Those are certainly important, but aren’t the only things. So, I came up with this alternative to the 3 R’s, which are the 3 H’s.
Yes, a child should have a bright ‘Head’, which contains all the Algebra, the Calculus, the Physics and everything. But along with that, you should have skilled ‘Hands’, so that you can do things on your own, and not have to depend on your mother or father.
Today’s children are very good at their Maths, but depend on their mothers to tie their shoe-laces!! What kind of miserable people they would be, if left alone in a jungle?! With all their cleverness in Physics or Chemistry, left alone in nature, they’d turn into failures in minutes!
These academic toppers wouldn’t know what to do, and hence fail, because they are only taught to work with the head. They are not trained in how to survive  … how to take care of themselves or others, or how to care for Nature, grow their own food and so on …
What good are your distinction marks and medals, if you can’t live even a day in the forest?
Today, the world is full of problem because people with bright heads, but unskilled hands and  closed hearts exist. Everyone is selfishly bright and thinks only for themselves … Then we’re surprised at what is happening around us.
Hence, the third H is the ‘Heart’. It is good to have brains, but a clever head and very skilled hands is also what it takes to become a pick-pocket or a Bin Laden. Yet, as long as you have a good heart, that will be your guarantee that your head and hands will work towards helping people, rather than harming them.”

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Suhana Bhatia
Suhana Bhatia
Features Editor