Kolkata: Engineer-turned-educationist Sonam Wangchuk, who has changed the education landscape of Ladakh, on Saturday said private schools cannot be the answer to nation's needs.
"The nation needs masses and government schools are like oceans while private schools are like ponds," Wangchuk, whose education reforms in government schools has been hailed globally, told a CII event here.
"I have often been asked why I did not build a private school and my reply was you could either make a great little pond and raise its level by several metres or you could add on to the water of the ocean. For me the ocean matters more," he said at the interactive session of the CII Eastern Region and Young Indians (Yi) Kolkata Chapter here.
Wangchuk, instrumental in the launch of Operation New Hope in 1994 - a collaboration between the government, village communities and the civil society to bring reforms in the government school system, said it was then decided to work on government schools where common children have to go.
Stating that earlier there was 95 per cent failure rate in board exams, Wangchuk said there is a massive drop in the failure in school board exams courtesy the alternative learning practices and other innovative measures undertaken in the operation.
Wangchuk, the founding director of the Students Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh (SECMOL) who came to the spotlight in 2009, when his story inspired Aamir Khan's character of Phunsukh Wangdu in the film 3 Idiots, said he now has plans of setting up the Himalayan Institute of Alternatives which will have different disciplines - busines, tourism and others.
"The school of business will run real life companies, the school of tourism will run hotels and home stays, the school of environmental studies will have live application labs where students can work together with experts and use their acquired skill in soving natural calamities," he said.
As part of the business module the students can self-finance their education," he said.
The estimated cost for completing first phase of the project was Rs 1.5 crore. Rs one crore received in a global award received by him will be used as seed fund, he added.