Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma on July 4 has written a letter to Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, emphasizing the need for immediate action to resolve pressing issues affecting the state's education system. The letter highlights five key areas that require urgent attention and intervention to enhance the quality of teaching and learning in Meghalaya.
Acknowledging the dynamic leadership of Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, Chief Minister Conrad Sangma commended his commitment to the overall development of the education sector in the country. Sangma applauded the minister's vision of implementing learner-centric strategies with a strong focus on equity, access, and high-quality education for all.
The first concern raised by CM Conrad Sangma pertains to the shortage of trained teachers in Meghalaya. The state currently has only five College of Teacher Education (CTE) institutions with a limited intake capacity of 350 seats per academic year. This shortage is severely impacting the availability of trained teachers, with a significant backlog of 5,548 untrained teachers in secondary schools and 2,043 in higher secondary schools. Urgent steps are required to expand the capacity of B.Ed courses, which serve as the minimum pre-service professional qualification for secondary and higher secondary teachers.
The second issue highlighted in the letter focuses on the Diploma in Elementary Education (D.El.Ed) program. While the program has helped bridge the gap in training for in-service untrained teachers, Meghalaya still faces a backlog of 18,900 untrained elementary teachers. With only seven District Institutes of Education and Training (DIETs) and one Teacher Training Centre in the state, there is an urgent need to expand the infrastructure to address this shortfall effectively.
In his plea to the Union Education Minister, CM Conrad Sangma also emphasized the challenges faced by the state in implementing the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020. Meghalaya lacks adequate infrastructure and logistical support, requiring additional funding for teacher appointments, classroom construction, pedagogy resource training, early childhood care and education (ECCE) development, and school complexes. The state government seeks the assistance of the central government to overcome these challenges and ensure the successful implementation of NEP 2020.
Furthermore, CM Sangma highlighted the shortfall in funding under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA). Despite an approved budget estimate of Rs. 3,407.47 crores from 2018 to 2023, the actual releases and expenditure incurred are insufficient to meet the requirements of NEP 2020 and other quality aspects. The Chief Minister urged a reevaluation of the funding pattern and release of funds to fulfill the aspirations of the state in education.
The letter also drew attention to the vacancies in various positions within the North Eastern Hill University (NEHU). The absence of regular candidates in key roles such as Pro-Vice Chancellor, Registrar, Finance Officer, and University Engineer, along with the shortage of teaching and non-teaching staff, hampers the university's progress. CM Conrad Sangma stressed the urgency of filling these positions to improve the overall performance of NEHU.
Lastly, the Chief Minister highlighted the challenges faced by Meghalaya under the PM-USHA scheme, particularly the fixed criteria and funding limitations that could hinder the state's eligibility for funding. Sangma appealed for relaxation of the funding criteria to enable active participation in PM-USHA, thereby supporting the implementation of NEP 2020 in Meghalaya.
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