Participants at the 'Edu’ Treat 2021 in Ukhrul district

Ukhrul: Teach For North-East (TFNE), an initiative of Imphal-based non-profit Recognize, Rise and Empower Association, recently organised its first-ever educational retreat Edu’treat 2021 in Ukhrul district of Manipur.

The retreat was held at Pilgrims Prayer Mountain at Hungpung village from January 25-30 to reflect upon the present work on education, learn from the good practices on education by other educators, and create real-time solutions which can then be integrated to bring a systemic change.

According to the organisers, Edu’treat is a portmanteau of two words- “Education” and “Retreat”. It is a professional learning retreat for educators, featuring key stakeholders and experts from the industry, coming to discuss challenges on school education in the Northeast and realistic solutions to be devised.

“Edu’treat was born out of our vision to create quality education which can only be brought with collaborations and partnerships. This retreat was entirely powered by collaboration and its success depends on the commitment of the participants to create a meaningful experience for themselves and fellow participants that can help them become change-makers in the education ecosystem,” said Edu’treat organiser and Co-founder of TFNE, Mathanmi Hungyo.

With the pandemic shutting down schools around the world and going online, less privileged students in many parts of the country and Northeast are struggling to stay the course, Hungyo further stated that in a country where the gaps in access to education and internet were already vast, the lockdown not only increased learning inequality among students but also pushed a large number of children out of school due to the digital divide.

“Lockdowns enforced to stop the spread of the virus have put 91% of learners out of school globally, and out of these, the poorest and marginalised children are at highest risk of never returning to the classroom with no real solutions to resolve this issue,” he said.

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Some key sessions featured in the retreat include: COVID-19 and the future of education, experiencing and understanding education equity, inclusion, mental health and well-being, visual arts as an educational tool to propagate stories of change, entrepreneurship as a life skill among others.

The participants of Edu’treat were TNEF Fellows, SunBird Fellows, educators and resource persons of various organisations from different parts of the country, including TFIx, Ummeed Child Development Center (Mumbai), Korou Foundation (Library For All), SELCO Foundation(Bangalore), Simple Education Foundation(Delhi), The Longdrum Network(Nagaland), Project N-Able, STEP Northeast(Manipur), MitSna(Manipur), Tweak Leaning- Beyond Grades, SunBird Trust, Unibrow Studio, Zingsho Katamnao Long – The eastern Tangkhul Student Union.

The Edu’treat is part of the two years teaching fellowship program towards building the capacities of the teaching fellows, sports educators, local school teachers and educators working in the region. This is a platform where key stakeholders influencing the education system deliberate to come up with real-time solutions on quality school education.

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