Focusing on improving access and quality of education in Sikkim, Hon’ble Chief Minister Shri Pawan Kumar Chamling today released an Innovations Handbook, documenting the most effective innovations by teachers of the state along with the launch of a portal to provide a website to every government school in Sikkim.
“Sikkim has the highest literacy rate in the country, and that’s because of our focus on human resource development. Human development is the real development,” Chief Minister Chamling said. Speaking in the context of empowering teachers, he said that teachers are the country’s biggest assets and they should be encouraged to adopt and create innovative teaching and learning methods to improve the quality of education.
Starting February 2018, the teachers of the state were given a platform to share their ideas during Sri Aurobindo Society’s orientation programme under the Zero Investment Innovations for Education Initiatives (ZIIEI). Over 4,500 teachers submitted their ideas, of which the most effective ones by 32 teachers have been published in the Innovations Handbook. These can be replicated by any school across the country for specific improvements in education.
Shri G. P. Upadhyay, Additional Chief Secretary-cum-Principal Secretary of Sikkim, said that access, equality and quality are the important pillars of an education system. “Micro-level implementation of ZIIEI ideas should ensure that, instead of a one-size-fits-all approach, every school can find customized, relevant solutions and there is optimum use of the available resources,” he said.
During the event organized on the occasion of Teachers’ Day at Manan Kendra in Gangtok, the chief minister felicitated these teachers for their efforts to improve education quality by utilizing schools’ limited resources with zero investment. “This recognition has made me want to do more for education. Teachers have been doing these innovations without any expectation and would continue to do that, but if the (government) system recognizes us, we will be motivated more,” said Devan Sapkota, Government Junior High School, Pakyong, East Sikkim, one of the innovative teachers featured in the book.
Sapkota has introduced a concept of ‘home visits’ in his school, in which the teacher, along with a team consisting of panchayat and block heads and other local leaders, visits the homes of students. They review whether the child is getting proper study environment, diet and hygiene level for his/her overall development and counsel the parents.
Similarly, Laden Pulger, a teacher at Government Junior High School, Adam Pool, East Sikkim, was honoured for her innovation of providing a post box in the class. Students write letters to their teachers and friends and drop it in the box. These letters can be to ask questions to the teacher about deeper meanings of things children observe, about a complicated situation in a story they have read in the class, or to say ‘thank you’ or ‘sorry’ to classmates. “I have never got an honour like this and it is a very overwhelming feeling. A platform like ZIIEI and teachers’ innovations can help tremendously transform education in the state,” Pulger said.
Another initiative, as part of ZIIEI, is to provide all of 800-plus government schools of Sikkim with a website, to give them a digital presence and improve communication with the education authorities and parents. “It was our dream to be able to make a difference in Education in the north-eastern states. Sikkim has a very progressive outlook and we are grateful for the opportunities provided to us here to empower teachers and strengthen the system,” said Sambhrant, Member-Executive, Sri Aurobindo Society.
The Society is also working in Sikkim to make inclusive education a reality, by training teachers to identify and support students with ‘hidden’ disabilities of neurodevelopmental disorders.