The fact that digital inclusion in Meghalaya is still a far off dream: Mr. D.P Wahlang

Shillong, Sept 08: The State Project Office, State Education Mission Authority of Meghalaya, Shillong in collaboration with the Meghalaya Bharat Scouts and Guides, Shillong Headquarter today organised World Literacy Day 2021 at a function held at the Auditorium Hall, Meghalaya Bharat Scouts and Guides Headquarter, Shillong.

Shri D P Wahlang, Additional Chief Secretary to the Government of Meghalaya, Education Department & State Mission Director, SEMAM (SSA) attended the programme as Chief Guest. The theme for World Literacy Day 2021is “Literacy for a Human- Centred Recovery- Narrowing the Digital Divide”

Speaking on the occasion, Shri D P Wahlang stated that the main objective of the programme is to raise awareness about the importance of literacy as a matter of dignity and human rights.

The aim is to have a literate and a sustainable society by advancing literacy, by imparting education to all who are in the purview of receiving education and also to bring back children who are out of schools or institutions to the mainstream or to educational institutions.

Speaking on the theme, he mentioned that the word “recovery” directly implies the impact of the pandemic in the last 2 years on the educational system. By resorting to technology the recovery process has been gradual, but in order to have a proficient and an optimal solution, digital inclusion is a must. He reiterated the fact that digital inclusion in Meghalaya is still a far off dream.

According to a survey conducted by the Education department, in urban population only about 50-60% of upper primary section students and about 20-25% in rural population have access to basic online classes, hence there is an urgency to reopen schools amidst the pandemic because of a lack of digital inclusion. The biggest challenge in Meghalaya is the lack of foundation for students in schools.

The Government of India acknowledging this flaw in the running system of schools has shifted focus to “Foundational Learning and Numeracy”, which is a new mission under the overall umbrella of the SSA. This mission will give more emphasis on foundation which will be given to the students up to class 3, throughout the country.

During the day, a session on Free and Compulsory Education as Per Right to Education Act 2009 was also conducted by Shri T.T.M Sangma, Special Officer from Meghalaya State Legal Services Authority.

An awareness programme on tobacco use among students which is part of Tobacco Free Educational Institution Programme was also given by Dr. Lana L Nongbri, State Nodal Officer Tobacco Cell, Health Department. A testimonial of Out of School Children on Continue Learning during the pandemic was also shared on the occasion.

In recognition of the tireless efforts in Making the Tobacco Free Educational Institution Programme, awards were conferred upon Shri Herman Marwein, Block Mission Coordinator, Mylliem Block, East Khasi Hills District, Shri Victor Nongbet, Joint Director School Education & Literacy, Nongpoh, Ri – Bhoi District. Smti Lucky Nora Tmung. District Community Mobilization, Coordinator,SSA, Ri- Bhoi District. Shri Srengrang Sangma, District Community Mobilization, Coordinator, SSA, East Garo Hills District. Shri R. D Shira, District School Education Officer & District Mission Coordinator, SSA, East Garo Hills District and Shri Ioanis Umdor, Block Mission Coordinator, SSA, Amlarem, West Jaintia Hills District.

Others who were present include Shri A. Ch. Marak, Secretary Education to the Government of Meghalaya & State Project Director, SESAM (SSA), Smti A. Swer, Secretary MBSG, Shillong, among others.

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