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UNICEF India holds Shiksha Mela to demonstrate powerful stories in Children’s Education

Yasmin Ali Haque, UNICEF India Representative addresses Shiksha Mela

By Muslim Mirror Special Correspondent,

New Delhi: UNICEF India, which has been working to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children across 190 countries and territories, in partnership with Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) on Thursday organized a ‘Shiksha Mela – Education Open Day’ to demonstrate good practices on holistic and equitable quality education that contributes to learning both cognitive and non-cognitive skills. These have been achieved through convergent programming across 17 Indian states.

An innovative marketplace, creatively exhibiting the education milestones during the lifecycle of every child was on display. This, accompanied with a powerful narrative, was used to illustrate successful strategies applied in diverse parts of the country. It included how children’s readiness for school had been strengthened through early childhood education, the strategic initiatives through which out-of-school children were brought back to school, how children were supported to learn at age and grade-appropriate levels, and using Sports for Development and Meena Raju Manches children fostered non-cognitive skill building that helped them stay in school, learn, and transit to next levels. The importance of school health through hygiene and sanitation, as well as making schools safe and the journey to and in school protective, were also demonstrated.

Another critical dimension was the engagement of communities in the education of their children and how they were mobilized to participate in creating the kind of quality education they wanted for their children.

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Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Yasmin Ali Haque, UNICEF Representative in India, lauded the efforts of the Government of India in speeding up its commitment to get all children into school and learning.

“Since the enforcement of the Right to Education Act, much progress has been made in areas of systemic readiness, improved access and enrolment of children, providing infrastructure especially sanitation facilities in schools, recruitment of teachers and training of untrained teachers. Children are indeed performing reasonably well in the early classes but there is a need to do more for translating these results for higher classes and ensuring that the requisite skills are built for a smooth transition to work, ” she said.

“The Samagra Scheme, which merges the three flagship programmes-Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan and Teacher Education, aims to provide equitable access and improve quality of learning and governance.

This step is extremely critical for India today, to address the building of foundational skills of literacy and numeracy and well as transferable skills that give children the basis for navigating the dynamic skilling agenda for Indian adolescents and youth,” said Dr. Yasmin.

Focusing on scaling up successful examples from the field, Euphrates Efosi Wose, Chief of Education, UNICEF India facilitated a panel discussion on this occasion. The panelists discussed a few examples of scaling up with quality while highlighting the challenges and solutions for scaling up.

In his keynote address, Anil Swarup, Secretary, Department of School Education and Literacy, MHRD, emphasized the need for digitization in education. He said many NGOs have taken initiative in this regard as he shared his experiences with the audience.

During the programme, a ‘Data Visualization App’, which provides the user-friendly and visual representation of complex analytics of the education scenario in the country, was also launched. The app was made by National Institute of Educational Policy and Administration with technical inputs from UNICEF. It uses UDISE, NAS, and Demographic data thereby making it an important visual tool for policymakers, senior government officials, academia, and researchers to address gaps and monitor programs in the field of education.

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