Press Releases

Tuesday, September 5, 2023

Press Release No. 140/23


Every year, the 5th of September is celebrated as Teachers Day as a tribute to the contribution made by teachers to the society. The day also commemorates the Birth Anniversary of Dr S. Radhakrishnan, the former President of India and above all, a Teacher. Meghalaya also joined hands with the rest of the country to celebrate the 62nd Teachers Day today, the 5th September, 2023 with great fervour and exuberance at U Soso Tham Auditorium, Shillong in the august presence of the Education Minister, Shri Rakkam A. Sangma as the Chief Guest.

Addressing the function Shri Rakkam A. Sangma said that Education is one of the pillars which contribute towards building a great nation. Teachers play a crucial and vital role in realising these goals by nurturing our young minds to be a better person in a society, to perform both academically and intellectually and reach a pinnacle of success.

Acknowledging that teachers face numerous other challenges such as pay disparity and untimely disbursement of salary, the Minister reiterated the governments commitment and continuous efforts in addressing these issues. He also stressed on the need for teachers to come up with various innovative methods for holistic development of the students.

The Minister also congratulated Shri. Madhav Singh, Senior Science Teacher of Alpha English Higher Secondary School, Nongpoh for being conferred the National Teacher Award 2023. On the occasion the minister also inaugurated various Special projects under SSA the website of the Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan, Adopt a School Campaign and PM eVidya Meghalaya.

Meghalaya Government honoured teachers from across the state on Teachers Day in recognition of their contributions in shaping the lives of the young minds. State Awardees: 1. Smti V. Dipali Sharma Rao, Principal, Laban Assamese Girls Higher Secondary School 2. Smti Belinda Kharsati, Head Teacher, Pomlahier L.P School 3. Shri Sisingh Ryntong, Asst. Teacher, New Nongstoin B Govt. L.P School 4. Shri Apborsing L. Mawlong, Asst. Teacher, Tirot Sing Memorial Govt. U.P School, Nongkhlaw 5. Shri Kwirin Diengdoh, Headmaster, Mawsaw Govt. U.P School, Mawkyrwat 6. Smti Ewanmidaka Mukhim, Asst. Teacher, Govt. Girls Higher Secondary School, Jowai 7. Shri Ribait Oo Pde, Asst. Teacher, Tep Kyndait Govt. U.P School, Tuber Kmaishnong 8. Shri Golak Chandra Medhi, Asst. Lecturer, Jirang Govt. Higher Secondary School, New Jirang 9. Shri Babansing Ch. Sangma, Head Teacher, Rongreng Baiza Govt. L.P School 10. Shri Wilton Marak, Headmaster, Daram Govt. U.P School 11. Shri Frederick R. Sangma, Headmaster, Dobasipara U.P School 12. Shri Manoj Kumar Prasad, Asst. Teacher, Montfort Centre for Education(Sec) 13. Smti Mirabella G. Sangma, Head Teacher Cum Secretary, Chengkompara Nokat Govt. L.P School 14. Shri. Nozmul Arefin, Vice Principal, Baghmara Govt. Higher Secondary School.

Besides the State Teachers Award, District Award was also conferred on 36 teachers from across the State. From East Khasi Hills, the District Award was presented to Dr. Careen E.G Marbaniang, Assistant Teacher, Mawkhar Christian HS School, Shillong for the Secondary Section Shri. Wallamkupar Lynrah, Assistant Teacher, Mawsiatkhnam Prebyterian U.P School (SSA) for the Upper Primary Section and Smti. Dafrit Nongkynrih, Assistant Teacher, Tynring Govt. L.P School, Tynring for the Lower Primary Section.

Special Award 2023 (Inclusive School) was conferred upon Smti. Berrilang Nongrum, Special Educator, Mary Rice Centre for Special Education, Laitumkhrah, Shillong. Shri. Dilip Kumar Mangar, St. Anthonys HS School, Shillong and Smti. Miniefer Syiemlieh, KJP Girls HS School, Shillong received the Best Scoutmaster and Guide Captain 2023 respectively.

Press Release No. 141/23


The first ever Play to Learn Summit was successfully organized in Shillong today, highlighting the crucial role of play in young childrens overall development. The Summit was presented by Government of Meghalaya, Meghalaya Early Childhood Development Mission (MECDM), Meghalaya Health Systems Strengthening Project (MHSSP), State Capability Enhancement Project (SCEP) in collaboration with Sesame Workshop India Trust funded by SBI Foundation, along with the Indian Institute of Banking and Finance. Speaking as the Guest of Honour at the occasion, Meghalaya Social Welfare Minister Paul Lyngdoh said, Our kids today face a unique set of challenges that are different from the ones that the kids in the previous generation faced. It is our endeavor to be able to take initiatives aimed at optimizing the potential of our children. For this, we need to keep re-envisioning where we want to see Meghalaya in the next 50 years. He added that Meghalaya has been the birthplace of various luminaries such as Author Arundhati Roy and John Shepherd Barron, the founder of the ATM, among others. He also lauded Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma, and the Principal Secretary and CEO of Meghalaya Early Childhood Development Mission, Sampath Kumar, IAS, for initiating visionary reforms and implementing a mission of this caliber. He initiated a call to action for all residents of the State and said that we all should rededicate ourselves to the vision of the State, adding that, Time is of great essence, and the time to act is today. The Minister went on to state that Meghalayas Early Childhood Development Mission is an initiative  that has put the State at the forefront in the National map. He added that as implementers of this unique mission, we are missionaries and we should take care not to become mercenaries in the long run.

Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma also virtually addressed the audience at the summit. In his virtual video, he congratulated all the departments and stakeholders for hosting Meghalayas first ever Play to Learn Summit. He emphasized on the importance of play-based and activity-based learning and added that the State Government is aiming to promote this through the Summit. Emphasizing on the importance of the play to learn summit as an integral part of the Meghalaya Early Childhood Development mission (MECDM), Principal Secretary and Development Commissioner- Social Welfare Department and CEO-MECDM, Sampath Kumar, IAS, said that we can achieve our economic potential if every child of this state has the opportunity to flourish physically, mentally, socially, and to receive the support needed for a strong education, and meaningful employment. He added that Human development is not only the cornerstone for economic success, but it is also the foundation of our peoples welfare and happiness. In a presentation titled, Early Childhood Development Mission to transform Meghalayas Economy, the Principal Secretary and CEO-MECDM stated that Meghalaya is reimagining the approach to early childhood. He added that the more we invest in early ages, the more we gain in later years. He also explained in detail Meghalayas Human Development-Based Growth Model. He also informed that Meghalayas ECD landscape is a three fold approach focusing on 1) Family and Home 2) Early Childhood Development at the Centre and 3) Community. He further stated that Meghalaya is moving from a Conventional Approach of learning to a Science Based Approach- And as part of this, the Play to Learn Summit holds immense significance. Echoing the vision of the Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma, the Principal Secretary stated that the State is using a lifecycle approach in which the state is investing in holistic development for each stage of human life, right from the time of pregnancy, to childhood, to adolescence, to youth and to adulthood. He further emphasized that ECD Mission is a social movement that requires all departments and stakeholders, including citizen groups and faith organizations, to work together with a sense of purpose to help every child achieve their full potential and generate more happiness for the residents of Meghalaya.

Secretary of Meghalaya Health and Family Welfare Dept and Project Director- MHSSP, Ram Kumar, IAS, expressed his happiness for having this programme on the occasion of Teachers Day. He stated that learning and education are evolving concepts and there is no one method for the same. It is important to find the best way to adapt to each persons capabilities. Learning by doing has existed in various civilisations, including India for a very long time, and this is not a new concept. He encouraged the parents to give the right direction to their children, and added that this will go a long way in developing the cognitive abilities of a child. He added that every lost opportunity to groom and teach a child is a great disservice to humanity. In this context, he emphasized on the EDC mission and making learning a fun activity, while adding that this has the potential to transform the whole society. In her welcome address, Ms. Sonali Khan, Managing Trustee, Sesame Workshop India Trust asserted the importance of play in the life of every child. She said that children today are growing in an extremely fast paced and dynamic environment, and they can be considered as a first generation Digital Natives. It is the need of the hour to build the child in a manner so that they will be able to cope with the dynamic world. She added that Early Childhood Development can be a game changer, as it will define how the children will cope, think of the future and thrive well. She emphasized on the role of community in investing in ECD, especially for building the social and economic well being in a child. She termed Meghalayas ECD mission as a pioneer intervention, and a cornerstone of how the States children are aided in building and growing up into holistically healthy citizens in future. Addressing the attendees, Mr. Sanjay Prakash, Managing Director, SBI Foundation informed that the Early childhood education is given great emphasis even in the National Education Policy (NEP), and the fact that Meghalaya is one of the first states in India to be implementing the ECD Mission is notable and worthy of appreciation. The summit also witnessed an address by T. Barpanda, Zonal Head, Eastern Zone, Indian Institute of Banking and Finance. 

It may be recalled that Meghalaya is rolling out the Meghalaya Early Childhood Development Mission (MECDM), which is the first of its kind initiative in the country. The main goal of the mission is to maximize the lifelong potential of children by providing the key development support required in the critical early years: from conception to eight years of age. The expected beneficiaries of the mission  are caregivers, children between the ages of 0-8 years (including those with disabilities), pregnant women and lactating mothers. The Mission will convert all Anganwadi Centers into ECD Centres to provide comprehensive support to children, including nutrition, cognitive development, socio-emotional learning, and the foundational development they will need to succeed later in school and in life. Additionally, there is a significant focus on community-based and home-based ECD activities. For instance, womens self-help groups and fathers circles will receive training so that they can act as support groups to caregivers and can coach caregivers on simple activities they can do at home to promote the cognitive development and overall well being of their children. The Play to Learn Summit witnessed two panel discussions on the following themes: Why Playful learning needs more attention in early childhood development- The panel members were: Mr. Rama Krishna Chitturi, Joint Secretary C and RD and CEO MSRLS, Govt of Meghalaya, C D Lyngwa, Director Social Welfare and Dy CEO, MECDM, Sonali Khan, Managing Director, Sesame Workshop India, Shah Alam, Managing Director, Sesame Workshop Bangladesh and Dr. Jayanti Prakash, Director, Education, Sesame Workshop India as moderator. The second panel discussion was based on the theme, What are the ingredients of playful caregiving?. The panel members for this session were- Ms. Sandra Nongsiej, Senior Lecturer, Directorate of Educational Research and Training, Dr. Hanabalahun Kharbuki, DIET Sohra, Prof. Nikme S. C. Momin, Department of Education, NEHU, Meghalaya, Mr. Aman Bhaiya, Assistant Vice President, SBI Foundation, Dr. Jayanti Prakash, Director-Education, Sesame Workshop India and Moderator: Ms. Shobha Kapoor, Director – Media and Communications, Sesame Workshop India.

The summit also witnessed a story telling session in Khasi by a local YouTuber Code Freeman aka Ferdinand Ranee. The closing address at the summit was given by Ronald Kynta, COO, MECDM. Play based learning at the booths were also underway by the DERT, Education Department, Meghalaya ECD Mission, State Resource Center on Disability Affairs, Shillong. Another booth demonstrated an Anganwadi Classroom Setting, in which an Anganwadi worker created a mock classroom including some materials from Sesame, while another booth showed a home-based ECD Setting showcasing a Parental engagement corner with home-based learning and a Sesame Workshop India Play Zone. The summit highlighted the importance of integrating local culture and folklore practices to develop contextualized teaching and learning materials for ECCE as aligned with the National Curriculum Framework (NCF, Oct 2022) and New Education Policy 2020. Discussions explored evidence-based initiatives to enhance childrens skills, the role of community engagement in culturally tailored play-oriented education, and the value of research in play-focused approaches. The summit showcased the work of ECD Mission, and the contribution of vital partners such as Sesame Workshop India in connecting play-based learning with the National Curriculum Framework (NCF) and NEP 2020. Caregivers were also highlighted for their crucial role in supporting childrens play by creating a safe and playful environment, providing easily available materials and fostering independent and creative play.

Since its launch, the ECD Mission has carried out block conventions in 10 blocks of the state, to sensitize community leaders and front-line workers, as well as government functionaries, about the importance of early childhood development, and to invite the full ownership and engagement of communities in rolling out ECD Mission. A unique component of these conventions has been the participation of multiple departments, highlighting the cross-sector nature of ECD and the importance of joint action to achieve the goals of the mission. A further unique component of the mission is the focus on community leadership and participation. The Mission recognises that success will depend upon a true sense of ownership by communities, from leadership to the household level. As of September, the ECD Mission has developed a set of Mission Guidelines which will be disseminated to all localities of Meghalaya to enable ordinary individuals, community leaders, and community institutions such as self-help groups, to carry out ECD activities. The Mission is now engaged in rolling out training for Master Trainers at the Cluster Level. On August 24, 2023, the first batch of trainings were conducted, equipping lady supervisors, cluster coordinators, ASHA facilitators, Cluster resource persons, Gram Sevaks/Sevikas, Anganwadi workers, to be able to train their fellow cluster level colleagues, and to start training community level functionaries and community leaders. The next stage of the process will be the initiation of the core activities of ECD Mission at the community level: activities at the Anganwadi Centres, home-based activities to be done by caregivers, and community events to sensitize and mobilize all community members.

As part of this initiative, Sesame Workshop India, with support from the MHSSP, is providing technical and implementation support to the ECD Mission in designing and developing an integrated ECD model to improve outcomes as envisaged in the states ECD mission. Sesame Workshop India is a global leader and innovator in play-based pedagogy as an effective approach to teaching and learning, with a strong track-record of impact for caregivers and children in India and all over the world. Simultaneously, Sesame Workshop India has been working closely with the Social Welfare Department to carry out Learn Play Grow in 4 districts of Meghalaya.  Supported by the SBI Foundation since 2020, this initiative is benefitting 90,000 children in 3000 Anganwadi Centres by training Anganwadi workers to provide child-centered, play/activity-based curricula, pedagogical processes, and effective techniques, which can be further developed to support the Early Childhood Development Mission throughout the state.

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