Mendipathar (Meghalaya): Chief Minister Conrad Sangma on Wednesday said that the State Government has been spending over Rs. 2000 crore annually in the education sector, but said that it was still not enough.
“One of the highest percentages of expenditure goes towards the education sector. This year itself we sanctioned Rs. 100 crore for improving the overall infrastructure in about 200 Government Lower Primary Schools which were lying in dilapidated condition,” Sangma said, addressing the Golden Jubilee celebration programme of Mendipathar College in North Garo Hills district.
He further informed that the Government is identifying 300 additional schools, which will be taken up for improvement and the funds are being mobilised for the same.
Education Minister, Lahkmen Rymbui, Deputy Speaker Timothy D Shira among others attended the programme.
Reiterating his government’s commitment to streamline the education sector in the State, the Chief Minister said, “Prior to the 2018 election, I pledged to the people of the State that given an opportunity, we will work toward prioritizing education. And as vowed, soon after we took over, we formalised the State Education Policy and have been working to fulfil the mandate to streamline the education sector.”
On the issue of admission in higher classes and the increasing student population, Sangma said, “In next five years, the student population will increase to about 4 lakh and you will be surprised to know
that we have only 45000 seats in colleges for our children.”
He said that the Government is aware of this issue and is working to ensure that more seats and colleges are established across the state to ensure that children are not deprived of higher education.
Sangma informed that the Government has recently supported nine colleges in the State under the “People’s College” scheme and have initiated programmes like Community College and Model College to further ensure that students get an opportunity for higher education.
“We must come up with more colleges,” he added.
Lamenting on the lack of Science Streams in many higher secondary schools and colleges, the Chief Minister said, “Our children who want to study science, who are good at innovation, good at mathematics… sadly are not having any options… this is the challenge we face and we are looking at ways to move forward.”
On the long-pending demand for the provincial station of Mendipathar College, Sangma said, “We will examine it. We will find the way on how we could create the right environment and right support for North Garo Hills in particular and Garo Hills region in general.”
Mendipathar College is the oldest and only College in North Garo Hills, which is celebrating its golden jubilee this year.
On the occasion, the Chief Minister also released the souvenir of 50 years journey of Mendipathar College.
Education Minister Lahkmen Rymbui, who also spoke on the occasion, said that despite challenges the Government has been working to streamline the education sector with the objective to address the concerns and welfare of teachers and students.
“The MDA (Meghalaya Democratic Alliance) Government has taken steps to regularise employment opportunities for the teachers and this year 1300 teachers were recruited in permanent posts,” he informed.
Rymbui further informed that scholarships for students have been increased to Rs. 15000 depending on grades and categories as well as merit scholarship which was Rs 60 per month has been increased to Rs. 600 per month.
“We are trying to improve the overall sector to ensure that the learning experience for our students is improved,” the Education Minister added.