SHILLONG: A day after the North Eastern Hill University Teachers’ Association (NEHUTA) called upon the President of India to step in and withdraw the implementation of National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 in affiliated colleges, Chief Minister Conard Sangma highlighted the financial implication of the exercise.
While acknowledging the importance of the NEP, the Chief minister said that a hefty sum of Rs 500 crore will be needed for the implementation of the policy.
“The challenges will have to be addressed before moving ahead. The policy calls for colleges to diversify their course offerings, which will entail additional infrastructure and resources. The financial ramifications are estimated between Rs 400-500 crore,” he said, during the centenary celebrations of Laban Bengalee Boys’ Higher Secondary School in Shillong, on Wednesday.
Sangma also voiced concerns over the deviations in the educational system of the state over the past 50 years and stressed on the necessity to revert to its core principle – the welfare and future of students. The chief minister acknowledged a shift in the department’s approach over the past half-decade, focusing more on student-centric decisions.
Meghalaya’s vast educational sector, comprising over 55,000 teachers and nearly 15,000 educational institutions, presents its unique set of challenges, said Sangma. The chief minister, while sharing the complex task of managing schools with diverse student-to-teacher ratios, revealed that the government sometimes must make hard choices such as merging or shuttering underperforming institutions.
Regarding financial oversight, Conrad remarked that educational funds had been misappropriated in the past. “Now, we have redirected these funds towards enhancing infrastructure in government schools,” he said, adding that revenues from the education cess, which went unutilised till 2019, have now been allocated towards infrastructure projects, benefiting numerous state schools.
Conrad reassured that the education sector remains a top priority for the government, stressing on the student-centric policies that have been adopted to enhance educational facilities.
Echoing Sangma, Education Minister Rakkam A Sangma quoted the late PA Sangma, underlining education as the most priceless asset one can bequeath to their progeny.