Tuesday, Dec 05, 2023 08:00 [IST]
Last Update: Tuesday, Dec 05, 2023 02:31 [IST]
GANGTOK,: A decisive moment in Sikkim's education journey unfolded as the government signed an MOU with Progressive Learning Foundation (PLF) and Khelum Foundation, proudly announcing the establishment of the Chief Minister Charter School (CMCS).
Under the steadfast leadership of the Honourable Chief Minister - Shri. Prem Singh Tamang (Golay), the government of Sikkim has consistently championed initiatives that propel the education sector forward. The Department of Education, aligning with the Government's vision, has played a pivotal role in directly benefiting students through strategic investments and innovative programs, the government's resolute support has created an environment conducive to learning and growth.
Aspiring to be a model for other regions with the CMCS, Sikkim showcases how a government's commitment to education, under the guidance of visionary leadership, can positively impact the lives of students and contribute to the overall development of the state. The first of its kind in the whole of the Northeast, Sikkim being the pioneer, the CMCS exemplifies the region’s dedication to innovative educational solutions.
While being government schools, Charter Schools are given the autonomy to implement specialized educational directives, often with the guidance of education-focused NGOs. In the case of CMCS, there will be a strong alignment with the National Education Policy 2020, with a special focus on Foundational Literacy and Numeracy—the building blocks of all-around learning, and teachers' professional development.
The CMCS initiative manifests the collaboration between the Sikkim Government and two Sikkim-centric NGOs: PLF and Khelum Foundation, both fervently committed to local-centric educational excellence.
"Our goal with CMCS is to reimagine education, ensuring that every child has access to excellent educational experiences and that every teacher has access to a variety of professional development options,” emphasized the Honourable Chief Minister of Sikkim, Shri. Prem Singh Tamang (Golay). Echoing these sentiments, the Education Minister, Mr. Kunga Nima stated, "This is not merely the initiation of a school but the genesis of an educational model for Sikkim; a model that prioritizes the student and their ability to read, write and do math at a foundational level as per the National Education Policy.”
Reflecting on the August 5th NGO consultation with the Education Department facilitated by PLF, the Additional Chief Secretary noted, "The momentum behind this initiative, deeply rooted in local people, is remarkable. The need of the hour is for our educators to not just impart knowledge, but to deeply understand and appreciate the immense value and responsibility they bear in our society."
Ms. Kunzang Choeki Bhutia, who formerly worked with the Govt. as the Sikkim State Head (Education) of the 17,000 Ft. Foundation visiting 154 remote and rural schools in the state, is now the CMCS Liaison to the Government, the founder of the Charter School Foundation and is currently undertaking a Ph.D. in Education from Delhi. Ms. Choeki remarked, "This endeavour represents an evolution—a shift in the way we perceive and approach education, particularly in our beloved homeland. That we have a local team with national and international training means we can be sensitive and adaptive to the local context. We are very grateful to the Government for this opportunity to support and implement our shared vision of excellent education in government schools."
Samuel Khaiba, Director of PLF, stated, "The CMCS represents a concrete step in actualizing the National Education Policy’s vision to fulfil fifty hours of teacher in-service professional development. We are incredibly fortunate to have a fantastic cohort of excellent teachers at Pangthang Junior High School, the first CMCS, who are so open and enthusiastic about learning!"
Rohan Raj Pradhan, Director of Khelum Foundation, shared, "Teachers and students are the backbone of this initiative, and their eagerness to grow and improve is our biggest asset. We are thrilled to be incorporating sports into our curriculum. We firmly believe and the research shows that fostering physical activity enhances both physical and mental health, and optimizes the learning capabilities of our students."
PLF has already delivered over 13 introductory professional development sessions to the teachers at Pangthang Junior High School and Khelum Foundation has led an equal amount of Activity Based Learning sessions for the students of the school. These sessions have been done with a specific focus of onboarding the school community to the Chief Minister’s Charter School Project in alignment with the NEP 2020.