Prosperity, Youth Enterprise and Cultural Values in Peripheral Regions
Working Paper No 16
Teaching & Classroom Practice
Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council, Leh
Druk Pema Karpo Educational Society
in association with
A project funded by the European Commission
During 2004-5, the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development, Leh (the ‘Hill Council’)
formulated a Vision Document entitled ‘Ladakh 2025’, aimed at transforming the
Ladakh region to an economic powerhouse, without adversely affecting its unique
culture and ecology. In order to help take the Vision forward, this ‘Enterprising
Ladakh’ project investigated opportunities in eleven economic sectors, and set out
the findings in a Discussion Paper entitled ‘Market Opportunities’. The findings were
discussed at a Workshop in Leh in July 2005. (www.enterprisingladakh.org)
Discussion Paper No 2 entitled ‘Developing Livelihood Skills and Self Reliance,’
addressed the enabling environment for ‘enterprise’ and ‘entrepreneurship’. This
Paper considered their nature, summarised experience with initiatives in the
European Union and India, reviewed the current status in Ladakh, identified
obstacles and outlined an enabling policy for the future. The findings were discussed
at a Workshop in Leh in March 2006.
This Working Paper No 16: Teaching and classroom practice – content and delivery
was prepared by Aparna Sethi and Annie Smith.
‘Enterprising Ladakh’ is a project being conducted by the Ladakh Autonomous Hill
Development Council, Leh, Druk Pema Karpo Educational Society and Drukpa Trust,
in association with SECMOL.
The project is co-funded by the EU-India Small Projects Facility Programme in
Economic Co-operation (SPF), which is an initiative of the European Commission
(EC) to support the on-going transformation and modernisation of Indian economy
and systems of governance. The programme supports small and innovative projects
that aim at facilitating enhanced interaction of European and Indian civil society, the
networking of its policy makers and opinion formers as well as the linkage of Indian
and EU operators in business and the media.
You are kindly invited to communicate your views on this Discussion Paper to the
Hemis Complex, Zangsti
Leh, Ladakh -194 101
Phone: +91 94191 77536; 252 133
This document has been produced with the financial assistance of the European
Union. The contents of this document are the sole responsibility of Ladakh
Autonomous Hill Development Council Leh, Druk Pema Karpo Educational Society
and Drukpa Trust, and can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the
position of the European Union.
This Working Paper records the findings of a series of studies of teachers in the
classroom context. These studies were aimed at identifying how the teacher imparted
knowledge to the student, how s/he used the text book, interacted with the student
and used classroom space. In total, whether the act of transacting the curriculum
demonstrated any ‘enterprise’ on the part of the teacher and imparted any ‘life or
livelihood skills’ to the student (Working Paper 15: Life & Livelihood Skills.
Social Studies Classes VI-VIII were observed in a number of schools in the Leh
District. To help build a clearer picture of the context of education and teaching
practices in Ladakh, further observations and interviews were held at the District
Institute of Education Training (DIET) in Leh and the Students Educational and
Cultural Movement of Ladakh (SECMOL).
In general, teachers impart the curriculum directly from the text book to the student,
who is a passive receiver of textual knowledge. Rote-learning and memorisation
dominate the classroom exchange. Understanding and application of this knowledge
or unscripted interaction with the teacher and other class members does not occur.
In short, the system does not encourage enterprise on the part of the teacher or
impart life & livelihood skills to the student. There are numerous reasons why this
style of teaching occurs, and some teachers were working hard within existing
constraints to deliver a more meaningful experience.
There is little or no evidence of ‘Life or Livelihood Skills’ being imparted in any way
through the existing curriculum. If anything, the current system discourages skills
that are useful for life. However, in spite of the limitations of the education system,
the team did come across some teachers who are comparatively more motivated
towards providing a positive educational experience for their students.
Teacher training in India has remained a highly neglected area for many years. The
concept and practice of training teachers, with an aim of making education more
meaningful and locally relevant, is comparatively recent in Ladakh. Active training
for teachers was initiated by SECMOL under Operation New Hope (1994 onwards),
and then handed over to District Institute of Education & Training (DIET) from 2001.
Even so, the language of instruction, training manuals and examinations are all in
Urdu, not Ladakhi. There has been no attempt to adapt the courses to local
requirements. The teacher trainers have to adapt language etc, which makes the
training time-consuming and less efficient.
Table of Contents
2. Education in Ladakh – a brief overview
3. Teaching & Classroom Practice
• The Teacher
• The Classroom
4. Teacher Training & the District Institute for Education &Training
Interviews and Information Sources
A: Observations of Teaching and Classroom Practice
B: Summary of Teacher Interviews
C: List of Government Schools Included in the Research
B.Ed Bachelor of Education
D.Ed Diploma in Education
DIET District Institute of Education & Training,
DRP District Resource Person
J&K Jammu & Kashmir
JKBOSE Jammu & Kashmir Board of School Education
LAHDC Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council, Leh
NCERT National Council of Education Research & Training
NCF National Curriculum Framework
ONH Operation New Hope
SECMOL Students Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh
SSA Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan
VEC Village Education Committee
“Those who do not train their hands, who go through the ordinary rut of education, lack
‘music’ in their life. All their faculties are not trained. Mere book knowledge does not
interest the child so as to hold his attention fully. The brain gets weary of mere words, and
the child’s mind begins to wander. The hand does the things it ought not to do, the eye
sees things it ought not to see, the ear hears the things it ought not to hear, and they do
not do, see or hear, respectively what they ought to. They are not taught to make the right
choice and so their education often proves their ruin. An education which does not teach
us to discriminate between good and bad, to assimilate the one and eschew the other is a
Mahatma Gandhi – discussion with Teacher Trainees, Harijan, 18 February 1939
‘Enterprising Ladakh’ aims at establishing an enabling environment for developing
skills of ‘Livelihood and Self Reliance’ and thus encourage a spirit of ‘enterprise and
entrepreneurship’ among young Ladakhis. Activity 3 focuses on the Ladakhi
education system and what is required to introduce appropriate skills of ‘Livelihood
and Self Reliance’ into the existing school system, from hereon referred to as Life &
In light of the above, this Working Paper records the findings of a series of studies of
teachers in the classroom context. These studies were aimed at identifying how the
teacher imparted knowledge to the student, how s/he used the text book, how s/he
interacted with the student and used classroom space etc. In total, whether the act of
transacting the curriculum demonstrated any ‘enterprise’ on the part of the teacher
and imparted any ‘life or livelihood skills’ to the student (for details of Life &
Livelihood Skills, please refer to Working Paper 15).
Social Studies1 Classes VI-VIII were observed in a number of schools in the Leh
District, in urban and rural areas. Teachers were interviewed and asked questions
about their practice and in some cases the students were interviewed too. To help
build a clearer picture of the context of education and teaching practices in Ladakh,
further observations and interviews were held at the District Institute of Education
Training (DIET) in Leh and the Students Educational and Cultural Movement of
It was found that in general, teachers’ impart the curriculum directly from the text
book to the student, who is a passive receiver of textual knowledge. Rote-learning
and memorisation dominate the classroom exchange. Understanding and
application of this knowledge or unscripted interaction with the teacher and other
class members does not occur. In short, the system does not encourage enterprise
on the part of the teacher or impart life & livelihood skills to the student.
However, there are numerous reasons why this style of teaching occurs, and some
teachers were working hard within existing constraints to deliver a more meaningful
The Social Sciences (Geography, History, and Civics) have been identified as the curriculum area best suited
for future interventions regarding the inclusion of life skills in schools. The rationale being that social science
pedagogy encompasses diverse concerns of society, and includes a wide range of content drawn from the
disciplines of History, Geography, Civics/Political Science, Economics, Sociology and Anthropology – and
(presumably) aims to increase the students’ awareness through critically exploring and questioning familiar social
reality (NCF 2005).
This suggests that the Social Sciences being the existent curricular area most directly connected/related with
children’s reality (society) has inherent scope for the introduction of new dimensions and development related
2. Education in Ladakh – a brief overview
The government education system in Ladakh does not educate a child in local
traditions and knowledge, or encourage self-reliance in a local context as would have
been the case before formal education was introduced. It is an education system
that is based on extraneous textbook-based knowledge and rote-learning, that at
best develops memory skills and the ability to pass examinations,
Since 1994, SECMOL has been a driving force behind fundamental and necessary
transformation of education in Ladakh. Formed under the movement Operation New
Hope (ONH), its aims have been to (ONH report 2000):
• organise the village communities for active constructive participation in the running
of the schools through formation of Village Education Committees (VEC);
• introduce a child-centred, activity-based and locally-relevant approach to early
• train the teachers in creative teaching methods in order to make schooling less
painful and more joyful for children;
• produce Ladakhi versions of primary text books and teaching materials in order to
make them more relevant and meaningful to Ladakhi children;
• use the above factors to revive the interest, strengthen the confidence, and
enhance the dedication of government school teachers.
In addition, ONH also worked at improving teachers’ use of English and introduced it
as a medium of instruction from an earlier age, in order to better prepare students for
the matriculation examinations.
Operation New Hope was later adopted as the region’s formal/official education
policy by the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC). On
completion of the ONH project in 2001, teacher training was handed over to the
District Institute of Education and Training (DIET). The work being done by DIET in
Ladakh – as well as various relevant issues pertaining to the institution – is
expounded later in this paper.
Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) is a national government initiative that came as a
response to the global call for ‘Education for All’ to universalise quality elementary
education through fostering community participation in the functioning of the school
system, while improving human capabilities in children as well as promoting social
justice (SSA Framework for Implementation). One of the major interventions under
the SSA, relevant to this Working Paper, is its teacher education scheme, which is
implemented in Ladakh through DIET. One of the steps taken under the SSA, to
address a shortage of teachers, is the appointment of para-teachers (Rehber-e-
taleem or RT’s) and other volunteer teachers. The SSA is in its third year of
implementation in Ladakh.
Education in Ladakh has been witness to slow but steady change, mostly initiated by
SECMOL and then accepted into the mainstream. Attitudes of teachers are gradually
shifting, but there is still a way to go before participatory, child-centred learning is
truly adopted in the classroom. Enterprising Ladakh’s initiative for Life & Livelihood
Skills aims at making a further shift of teaching methodology in this direction.
3. Teaching & Classroom Practice
In theory, the teaching-learning process involves an interaction between the teacher
and the student whereby the teacher imparts to, or facilitates the student in the
acquisition of knowledge and skills in a way that develops the student’s individual
potential, aptitude and character. Teachers shoulder an enormous responsibility in
the overall development of society’s young citizens.
Research in Ladakh has shown that the teacher-learning process does not impart
this breadth of experience or develop the student as an individual. In short, it mainly
promotes teacher- and textbook-centred learning that encourages rote-learning and
In the absence of formal or informal teacher training, or exposure to any discussion
regarding the purposes of education, the use of textbooks etc, teachers carry into the
classroom their own school experiences and re-enforce this system.
Though in-service training over the winter vacation has taken place in more recent
years, many of the older teachers are entrenched in the old traditions of teaching and
therefore find change difficult.
Younger teachers, or those who are ’new’ to the profession, have been exposed
throughout their careers to a larger questioning of and discourse on education. Many
of these teachers are more open to change and new ideas. However, in the absence
of proper inputs, guidance and support they are in danger of falling into the same
‘mould of teaching’ - text book-centred and rote-learning.
With regards to ‘Life & Livelihood Skills’ in the Jammu & Kashmir Board of School
Education (J&KBOSE) textbooks, a summary of their analysis can be read in
Working Paper 14. Ideally, the textbook is meant to provide pointers in the area of
knowledge dissemination – and not treated as definitive in knowledge and ‘a bible’ of
what to teach. Similarly, the teacher who, ideally, should guide in aiding the active
construction of knowledge, is in practice merely transmitting what is in the textbooks
to the students while promoting the practice of rote-learning and uncritical,
‘acceptance & absorption’ of textual content. Their main concern is to complete the
set syllabus in restricted timeframes in order to meet examination requirements.
The following issues, pertaining to teachers, have been identified as inhibiting the
positive development of the formal education system:
• a shortage of subject-specialist Ladakhi teachers;
• a large number of teachers, posted from outside Ladakh (Jammu etc),
consider their job a ‘punishment posting’, which de-motivates the teacher;
• every 2-3 years teachers are posted from district to district: this appears to
happen on an ad hoc basis. Teachers can be posted close to home and
then in an unknown community for several years. This again can have a
de-motivating effect on the teacher and leads to prolonged periods of
casual leave when the teacher returns home to spend time with their
• low qualifications required to qualify as a teacher hinders competent
• insufficient, irrelevant or absence of teacher training.
Through a series of classroom observations and teacher interviews, focusing on
Social Studies Classes VI-VIII, Enterprising Ladakh has attempted to assess how
“enterprising” teachers are during curriculum transaction. Research was conducted in
a sample set of government schools in Leh district. The research was based on
observing the following:
• the physical classroom/school environment;
• how the teacher used the textbook in the classroom;
• the use of alternative teaching aids and methodologies e.g. project work,
field trips, etc.;
• teacher-student interaction;
• group and one-to-one teaching;
• homework etc..
The teachers were then interviewed to gain a deeper understanding of what had
been observed and to seek their perceptions regarding:
• their motivation as teachers e.g. why they became teachers and their role
in a students’ life;
• their perceptions of the ‘learning experience’;
• how they use the textbooks/teaching aids and why;
• their attitude to participatory/ activity-based teaching-learning e.g. field
trips, project work, etc.;
• their perceptions of ‘life skills’ and alternative livelihoods in Ladakh in the
context of the Social Science curriculum;
• the extent to which (if at all) the system at present equips children for the
world of work.
The above research confirmed that:
• the physical environment is not conducive to activity-based learning, as
classrooms are often too small and poorly resourced/ equipped;
• curriculum, transaction is teacher- and textbook-centred encouraging rote
learning and memorisation. In most classrooms ‘whole group’ teaching
dominates the lesson;
• activity-based learning is not practiced, although some text books include a
things-to-do-section, teachers generally do not find the time or have the
resources to complete this section;
• the scope of languages required, plus varying levels of competence among
teachers in speaking these languages, restricts teaching efficiency in the
• teachers can become de-motivated when transferred to a different post every
2-3 years as a new posting often takes them away from family and friends.
This posting also creates inconsistency in the schools, and makes it
especially difficult for the Head or Principal to build an efficient ‘team’;
• education does not prepare students for the world of work or to do a job. It
prepares students to pass examinations and to progress in further academic
study whereby they may get a job. This system bases a students overall
competence and suitability to get a job on his/her ability only to absorb
knowledge and answer questions on that knowledge, not on the broad set of
skills required to do a job;
• it was also observed that the infrastructure was inadequate, leading to a poor
flow of information and resources.
There is little or no evidence of Life or Livelihood Skills, as defined in Working
Paper15, being imparted in any way through the existing curriculum. If anything, the
current system discourages skills that are useful for life. However, in spite of the
limitations of the education system, the team did come across some teachers who
are comparatively more motivated towards providing a positive educational
experience for their students.
4. Teacher Training & the District Institute of Education and Training (DIET)
Teacher training in India has remained a highly neglected area for many years. The
concept and practice of training teachers, with an aim at making education more
meaningful and locally relevant, is comparatively recent in Ladakh. Active training for
teachers was initiated by SECMOL under Operation New Hope (1994 onwards),
which was then handed over to the DIET (from 2001).
DIET offers the following training courses:
• In-service training, 20 days during the winter vacation. Under the SSA, every
elementary teacher (Classes I-VIII) must undergo training at least once during
the winter. The course consists of:
o Textbook Content: textbooks are frequently updated and many
teachers lack subject-specialist knowledge Training focuses on
textbook ‘hot-spots’, identified by the teachers, across the five core
o General Awareness Training: which includes methodology, new
strategies and changes, as laid down by NCERT, e.g. multi-grade
teaching. However, these are taught at a theoretical rather then
practical level and application/understanding is superficial.
• One year in-service Diploma in Elementary Education (D.Ed): this course is
available to teachers who are in service and are then selected by the
Education Office to be trained.
• Bachelor of. Education (B.Ed.) correspondence course: available to anyone
with a 1st degree.
During the research, various authorities on education in Ladakh admitted that DIET,
was suffering from many problems and was therefore operating inefficiently.
Enterprising Ladakh identified the following problems:
• Teacher trainers under SSA, District Resource Persons (DRPs), require
masters level qualifications. Few Ladakhi teachers are qualified, so many
trainers are brought in from other parts of J&K.
• Trainers are posted elsewhere after 2-3 years.
• The language of instruction, training manuals and examinations are all in
Urdu, not Ladakhi. There has been no attempt on the part of the J&K State
Board of Education to adapt the courses to local requirements. The teacher
trainers then have to adapt language etc, which makes the training time-
consuming and less efficient.
• A lack of institutional resources and sufficient teaching-learning material for
use during training.
• Trainers only have 12 days training in Srinagar - some trainers commented
that their training was insufficient and the people who trained them were not
• Training continues to focus on textbook /expert centred learning and although
teachers may be exposed to other methodologies, such as ‘play- way’
techniques - these methodologies are taught in an expert-centred way and do
not impart the skill of ‘teaching by doing’, only the intellectual knowledge.
• In-service training is not adequately followed up by support in the schools.
These problems demonstrate a general weakness in the DIET system with regards
enterprise, efficiency and the training of appropriate techniques such as activity-
based learning, all of which are required to enable Life & Livelihood Skills to be
successfully embedded in the curriculum.
Children have innate potential and if they are not provided with an enabling
environment, this potential may never develop or emerge. Ladakh’s education
system needs therefore to address the development of the whole child, thus
equipping young people with a broad range of skills to adapt to a modern and fast
changing world. The teacher, as a key component of any education system, needs to
be equipped with skills and understanding in order to deliver a meaningful and
relevant learning experience.
Working Papers 14 &15 put forward recommendations for textbook changes and for
Life & Livelihood Skills to be embedded in the curriculum. This Working Paper 16
makes the following recommendations for changes in teaching and classroom
• DIET’s training strategy could be reconsidered in the light of the following
o Relevant and effective pre-service training could be introduced for all
new teachers, creating a strong foundation for ongoing in-service
o The medium of instruction for all training should be adjusted to meet
local needs i.e. English & Ladakhi.
o Courses should be designed to impart a thorough knowledge and
understanding, through practice, of methodologies such as activity-
o The same methodologies should be introduced as the means of training
to impart experiential learning to the trainee teachers.
o In-service training should provide well-defined building blocks that lead
to classroom effectiveness, as well as teachers’ professional
development. Ongoing support to be provided in the classroom.
o Heads and Principals should attend the same training as teachers.
• The system of transfer should be reviewed: Heads and Principals to have a
say in who is selected for their schools. Selection to be based on performance
as well as qualifications.
• Schools should be better resourced. Infrastructure for disseminating
information, teaching aids, textbooks etc., to be made more effective.
• Changes should be made to J&KBOSE books, as recommended in Working
Papers 14 and15.
At a meeting on Life & Livelihood Skills held at Ladakh Autonomous Hill
Development Council, Leh, on 18th May 2006, attended by the Executive Councillor
for Education, the Chief Education Officer, representative from DIET, and various
educationalists from the Government and private sectors, it was agreed that:
• a committee would be formed to discuss Life & Livelihood Skills training and
implementation with DIET; and
• a Life & Livelihood Skills pilot would be introduced into selected schools
based on a DVD and handbook to be created as part of Activity 3 of
1. National Curriculum Framework 2005, National Council of Education
Research and Training, Delhi
2. National Curriculum Framework Review (2005) National Focus Groups –
Position Papers; NCERT
3. Operation New Hope – Report (1997-2000); SECMOL, Ladakh
4. Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan – Framework for Implementation, Ministry of Human
Resource Development, Department of Elementary Education & Literacy
5. Smith, Annie (2006); Is Formal Education Contributing to The Development of
Ladakh? A Study of Education in a Peripheral Region of India; University of
6. The Bachelor of Elementary Education (B.El.Ed) – Programme of Study
(2001); Maulana Azad Centre for Elementary and Social Education, Central
Institute of Education, University of Delhi
Interviews and Information Sources
• Dr. Krishna Kumar - Director, National Council for Education Research and
• P. Mani - Senior Programme Officer, Central Board of Secondary Education,
• Dr Samyal, State Institute of Education, Jammu
• Professor Ghanai – Chairman, & Bashir Ahmed - Director of Academics, J&K
Board of School Education, Jammu
• Tsewang Rigzin (Executive Councillor for Education, Ladakh Autonomous Hill
Development Council, Leh
• Mr. T.K. Bhat - Chief Education Officer & Mr. Tsewang Dorjey - Deputy Chief
Education Officer, Department of Education, Leh, Ladakh
• Mr Pandita, Head of Field Monitoring & Development, District Institute fo
Education & Training
• Mansoor Hussain Khan District Co – ordinator Pedagogy, Sarva Shiksha
• M. Sharif Bhatt and M. Iqbal Bijal - Save the Children Fund, Leh, Ladakh
• Sonam Wangchuk - Director, Students Educational and Cultural Movement of
Observations of Teaching & Classroom Practice
for Social Studies Classes VI-VIII
• classrooms are small (20 Sq.M. for up to 30 children)
• one built-in blackboard
• no, or limited, desks, chairs, tables
• no, or limited, wall display
• no, or limited, teaching aids/ materials
In all but one of the schools observed the environment was not conducive to
activity-based, child-centred learning:
Curriculum transaction (teaching-learning process):
• promotes ‘transmission’ of textbook content2
• promotes rote-learning and memorisation of facts
• promotes whole group teaching ( little or no one-to-one teaching)
• does not encourage the use of activity-based, child-centred learning
• does not encourage in-depth understanding or construction of knowledge
• is teacher-centred:
• is aimed at imparting facts to the whole group
• promotes questioning only from the teacher and is heavily based on
textbook content. (in one school only was a teacher observed encouraging
the students to ask questions if they did not understand).
• does not involve any group work or interaction with individuals students on
behalf of the teacher
• does not give credit to the personal knowledge that a student can bring into
• social studies text books are written in English
• the intended medium of instruction in the classroom is English –
• In practice classroom language is a mix of Ladakhi, Hindi or Urdu &
• most teachers read out of the textbook in English and then explain in
Ladakhi or Hindi
• Most teachers speak 2-3 of the 4 languages used but not the same 2-3
• In most cases the teacher writes the question and the answer on the board
in English, the student copies it into his/her book and learns both by rote
As the textbook content is expansive, teachers seldom get the time to do all the exercises at end of
lesson and most omit the ‘things to do’ section or field trips, etc.
Leh Government Middle School – Class VII
Shey Middle School – Class VII
Summary of Teacher Interviews
Through interviews, teachers advised that:
• They chose to teach because they were interested in and liked working
• Delivering the curriculum, text book contents, in time was difficult, due
partly to the extended winter vacation, but also to the intensity of fact-
based knowledge enclosed.
• Lack of time, resources and support made it difficult to do any activity-
based teaching. Despite textbooks recommending ‘things to do’ - they
never got round to this section. In some schools, the Head or Principal was
not willing to support their efforts to make field trips or to do lessons that
involved going out of the school grounds.
• They received no pre-service training, unless they had studied for a B.Ed.
In-service training was given over the winter vacation, but not all the
teachers received it, and little or no follow up support was given.
• The teachers were keen to improve the learning experience of the child,
but stayed within the constrictions of the system.
List of Government Schools Included in the Research
Government Middle School, Housing Colony Leh
Government Middle School, Leh
Government High School, Shey
Government Middle School, Chuchot Yogma
Boys Higher Secondary School, Leh