Lamdon Model High School (LMHS) is located at an altitude of 3600 meters, on the Ufti plain, near Padum, administrative capital of the Zanskar Valley. This region, in the far north of India, close to the border with Pakistan, is part of the Union Territory of Ladakh. Its 12’000 inhabitants are mainly Buddhists and make a living from agriculture and sheep and yak breeding. In the summer, Zanskar is accessible by a dirt road from Kargil which is 240 km away and passes over the Pensi-La at 4400 m. Since 2019, the road from Darcha in the south has been made driveable via Shinku-La (5090 m). A new road has been under construction for several years now and in the future it will lead directly from Leh through the Zanskar River Gorge. The climate of Zanskar is relatively dry throughout the year, but as from September, abundant snow falls on the Himalayan foothills block mountain passes. Zanskar is then plunged in an almost total isolation, during 8 months of the year. The only winter communication route between Zanskar and the outside world is the perilous course that follows the frozen Zanskar River, also known as Chadar.
Lamdon Model High School
A school in Zanskar
How it all started
- 1988: opening of the Lamdon Model School (LMS) in the Pipiting Monastery, near Padum
- 1991: construction of thefirst school building on the Pipiting plateau, near the monastery. From its opening, this school can accommodate nearly 200 students.
- 2000: due to its good results, the LMS is granted the status of “High School” and is now called Lamdon Model High School (LMHS).
- 2001: a second school campus (Main Building) is inaugurated in the Ufti plain, near Pipiting. The capacity increases to 300 students.
- 2010: Installation of Internet and a computer room
- 2011: start of the construction of a new school campus (New Building Project) in partnership with Architectes Sans Frontières
- 2014: Official inauguration of the new campus
- 2015 and 2016: renovation of the Main Building (classrooms and exterior painting)
- 2017: work begins on the eco-friendly Residential Building Project (RBP) to provide a boarding facility for students living in remote villages not accessible by road
- 2020: postponed RBP inaugural ceremony (planned in July) due to the coronavirus pandemic. For the first time in over 30 years, no AaZ member will travel to Zanskar
Children sponsored by AaZ-CH
Education and results
The school year
- Given the particularly harsh weather conditions (it can be as low as -35°C in winter), children are on holiday during the coldest months of the year.
- The school year starts in March and ends in November.
- Students attend school 6 days a week, from Monday through Saturday.
This video (17′) was made in 2012 by René Coquard, member of AaZ France. He follows little Rigzin Gurmath (8 years old) during a typical day at Lamdon Model High School.
- 2 pre-school level classes (children from 4 years old) :
- Lower Kindergarten (LKG)
- Upper Kindergarten (UKG)
- 10 classes for primary and secondary levels(from I to X)
- History and Geography
- Civic education
- Bodhi (Tibetan dialect of Ladakh and Zanskar)
- Urdu (official language of the State of Jammu and Kashmir)
- Hindi (one of India’s national languages)
Students and teachers
In 2019, the school has a total of 323 students(175 girls and 148 boys).
LMHS Teachers and Staff
Management and control
- The school is managed by the local Managing Committee composed of 4 people (President, Secretary General, Treasurer, Chairman)
- The Managing Committee is elected for a 3-year term by the school parents
- Each year, the Managing Committee prepares and submits projects to the AaZFrance association, which decides whether or not to accept and finance them
- A delegation from AaZ France visits the site every year (during the summer period) to meet with the Managing Committee to review the progress of current projects and discuss future developments. A report is published each year following this visit.
Indian Education Authorities
Although Lamdon Model High School is a private school, it is subject to the same constraints and obligations as all schools in the Indian Union: curricula, tests, examinations, authorisation to open new classes.la Lamdon Model High School est soumise aux mêmes contraintes et obligations que toutes les écoles de l’Union Indienne
The school is periodically inspected by the school authorities of Kargil District and the Ministry of Jammu and Kashmir State.
The end-of-year examinations assess the knowledge acquired during the year and are the basis for promotion to the next level. In case of failure, students have the opportunity to repeat a school year.
The exam results are regularly sent to the AaZ France association, which, in turn, forwards them to the students’ sponsors.