When we think of curricular activities and the design of such programs in the Institute campus to widen students’ learning, two very stark facts stare in the face: We are a totally residential institute in a rural setting. The staff and students live in the campus and we are very much insulated and surrounded by local rural folk who lead their own lives without much interaction with us.
We have students from our Tibetan schools, who have been very much embedded in their own school environments without much access and exposure to the outside world. Their residual dependency conditioned from school days leaves them very vulnerable in many ways: they come to the Institute very dependent and confused. Their sense of individual purpose and the skill of making decisions and standing by those decisions are still very shaky. The ability to make choices and take responsibility for their own actions is yet to take firm root. Their idea of a college education is to be “free” and “do what you like”. The seriousness of a tertiary education where you take responsibility for your own actions, and be self-reliant and in control are skills that they have not acquired in their schools. Instead of taking the initiative, they wait to be guided! These are the challenges we face here.
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