Shillong: The Government of Meghalaya’s Social Welfare Department along with Sesame Workshop India, an educational non-profit committed to meeting the early developmental needs of young children, SBI Foundation and SBI Life, organized a workshop to review the state’s Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) curriculum.

Hosted at Asian Confluence, Laitumkhrah in Shillong, the workshop addressed the vision for early childhood development in Meghalaya, whole child curriculum and proposed an age-wise curriculum with goals, competence, thematic integration, and group work. The recommendations made by Sesame Workshop India in consultation with ECCE experts are being reviewed by representatives of the Social Welfare Department, State Education Department, ICDS, NCERT along with representatives from departments of Planning, Health, Community & Rural Development, Meghalaya State Rural Livelihood Society.  

Speaking at the consultative workshop, Mr Sampath Kumar, IAS, Principal Secretary to the Government of Meghalaya stated that Meghalaya is probably the 1st and only State in India to have initiated an Early Childhood Development (ECD) Mission. This is a holistic approach towards all-round development of children starting from the preconception to the age of eighteen years.

He also added that a collaborative approach is the need of the hour as far as the implementation of the ECD mission in Meghalaya is concerned. The ECD mission implementation in the State requires a collaborative approach from several departments, including the Health & FW, Social Welfare, Education, C&RD as well as the teachers and parents’ cooperation into the materialization of this mission. He also gave a detailed presentation of the Meghalaya ECD Mission.

It may be mentioned that Meghalaya’s ECD Mission is a multidisciplinary, research-based approach that will not only lead to the holistic development of a child but also to overcome poverty and the inter-generational gap. The ECD mission focuses not only on the child but also on parents and propagates the 1000 days gap period in terms of birth spacing, including responsible parenthood, which is crucial for the well being of the mothers as well as the children.

The workshop witnessed the participation and interaction between several governments and non-governmental stakeholders including those from the Health & Family Welfare, Social Welfare (Women & Child Development), Education, C&RD Department as well as teachers and educators from several schools including Pine Mount School and Shillong Public School.

Each department and representative spoke about various levels of interventions being undertaken at their capacities and the challenges they face, including the gap that needs to be bridged towards implementation of the ECD mission at large in the State. The need for working in collaboration instead of in silos while expanding the role of women Self Help Groups to leverage the mission was highlighted by the members.

The welcome speech was given by Mr Dikki D. Shira, Director, Social Welfare Department while the session was moderated by Ms Anuragini Nagar, Director, Programs, Sesame Workshops, India. The session ended with a vote of thanks from Ms Hazel R. Pyrthuh, Asst. Director, ICDS.

The workshop was organized by the Office of the Principal Secretary, Government of Meghalaya, Social Welfare Department, in collaboration with Sesame Workshop India, SBI Foundation and SBI Life to review the state’s Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) curriculum. This exercise is part of the State Government’s Early Childhood Development (ECD) Mission.

Sesame Workshop India with support from SBI Foundation and SBI Life, launched the Learn Play Grow initiative in 2020 to strengthen ECCE in the state. The program is being delivered in 3200 AWCs in four districts of Meghalaya in Garo and Khasi.

Smt. Manjula Kalyanasundaram, Managing Director, SBI Foundation says, “We are happy to be a part of the Meghalaya government’s endeavour to revise the ECCE curriculum. It’s encouraging to know that our partner Sesame Workshop India has been invited as the education expert for this initiative. It is SBI Foundation’s constant endeavour to strengthen foundational learning for children to allow them to stay focused as they progress further in their academic life. We firmly believe in the power of education to bring about transformation and change.”

Ms Sonali Khan, the Managing Trustee at Sesame Workshop India, said “we are delighted to partner with the Department of Social Welfare, Government of Meghalaya to review the ECCE curriculum. We hope to integrate a play-based approach to the existing ECCE curriculum so that it becomes more robust and aligned with National Education Policy 2020.”

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