The Meghalaya government’s social welfare department along with Sesame Workshop India, an educational non-profit, SBI Foundation and SBI Life organized a workshop at Shillong to review the state’s early childhood care and education (ECCE) curriculum.

The workshop addressed the vision for early childhood development in Meghalaya and proposed an age-wise curriculum with goals, competence, thematic integration, and group work.

The recommendations made by Sesame Workshop India in consultation with ECCE experts are being reviewed by representatives of the social welfare department, state education department, ICDS, NCERT along with representatives from departments of planning, health, community & rural development, Meghalaya State Rural Livelihood Society.

Speaking at the consultative workshop, Sampath Kumar, principal secretary to the Government of Meghalaya stated that the Northeast state is probably the first and only state in India to have initiated an early childhood development (ECD) mission. This is a holistic approach towards all round development of children starting from the preconception to the age of 18 years.

He also added that a collaborative approach is the need of the hour in as far as the implementation of the ECD mission in Meghalaya is concerned. The ECD mission implementation in the state requires a collaborative approach from several departments, including the health and family welfare, social welfare, education, C&RD as well as the teachers and parents’ cooperation into materialization of this mission. He also gave a detailed presentation of the Meghalaya ECD mission.

Meghalaya’s ECD mission is a multidisciplinary, research-based approach which will lead to a holistic development of a child and is aimed to overcome poverty and inter-generational gap. The ECD mission focuses on the child along with parents and propagates the 1000 days gap period in terms of birth spacing, including responsible parenthood, which is crucial for the well-being of the mothers as well as the children.

The workshop witnessed the participation and interaction between several government and non-governmental stakeholders including those from the health & family welfare, social welfare (women & child development), education, C&RD department as well as teachers and educators from several schools, including Pine Mount School and Shillong Public School.

Each department and representatives spoke about various levels of interventions being undertaken at their capacities and the challenges they face, including the gap that needs to be bridged towards implementation of the ECD mission at large in the state.

The need for working in collaboration instead of in silos while expanding the role of women self-help groups to leverage the mission was highlighted by the members.

Sesame Workshop India with support from SBI Foundation and SBI Life, launched the learn play grow initiative in 2020 to strengthen ECCE in the state. The programme is being delivered in 3200 AWCs in four districts of Meghalaya in Garo and Khasi.

Manjula Kalyanasundaram, managing director at SBI Foundation said: “We are happy to be a part of the Meghalaya government’s endeavour to revise the ECCE curriculum. It’s encouraging to know that our partner Sesame Workshop India has been invited as the education expert for this initiative. It is SBI Foundation’s constant endeavour to strengthen foundational learning for children to allow them to stay focused as they progress further in their academic life. We firmly believe in the power of education to bring about transformation and change.”

Sonali Khan, managing trustee at Sesame Workshop India, said: “We are delighted to partner with the department of social welfare, Government of Meghalaya to review the ECCE curriculum. We hope to integrate a play-based approach a to the existing ECCE curriculum so that it becomes more robust and aligned with National Education Policy 2020.”

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