Securing the Future of School Children of Sikkim: A Partnership Between Government of Sikkim, Manipal Foundation, 17000 ft Foundation and Sikkim Manipal University.
GANGTOK, 3 September, 2021: In these unprecedented times of prolonged closure of schools, securing the future of children is becoming an increasingly important. In an environment which is undergoing rapid digitization and ‘fast-forward’ changes, pan spectral development is essential for students from the remotest regions of Sikkim to help them keep pace with today’s competitive world.
Sikkim Manipal University (SMU) along with the Manipal Foundation, with its robust philanthropic focus, have partnered with 17000 ft Foundation, a highly acclaimed non-profit NGO, under the inspirational guidance of the Department of Education, Government of Sikkim, to support the contemporary education, high quality healthcare and all-round growth of students of mutually identified schools in remote Districts of Sikkim.
This unique campaign will also support child and adolescent health with special focus on the girl child with improved access to healthcare, vital educational investments towards widening the horizons of the students towards good vocational outcomes to fulfil their career aspirations. The vision of this sustained partnership is to strengthen and enable the identified remote rural schools and communities, thus providing better opportunities through enriching exchanges with faculty of SMU, Sikkim Manipal Institute of Medical Sciences (SMIMS), Sikkim Manipal Institute of Technology (SMIT) & Central Referral Hospital (CRH) and other constituent colleges of the University.
The implementation of this unique educational programme in the selected Government schools will be achieved by setting up and integrating improved learning resources through a robust library programme and setting up of the DigiLabs – a unique Digital learning program that enables children to learn in school and at home, by establishing highly specialized offline Digital Learning Solution customised for areas with no mobile and internet connectivity. It will also focus on building the capacity of teachers and mobilizing communities to stay invested in their schools and thus reduce dropouts, which is the core of this programme. These plans are in consonance with UNICEF which advocates the protection of children’s rights, to help meet their basic needs and to expand their opportunities to achieve their full potential.
Ms Sujata Sahu, Founder, 17000 ft Foundation said “17000 ft is honoured to partner with SMU, ranked amongst the top Universities in India and known for its commitment to excellence in higher education, and extend the benefits of this association to children from the more remote and under-served regions of Sikkim. This partnership will help children from remote areas get access to better opportunities and also benefit from the exchanges with the faculty and students of SMU group of institutions.” “This unprecedented partnership between the Department of Education, Government of Sikkim, SMU and 17000 ft has provided us the guidance and support needed to mitigate many of the negative impact of the pandemic on the school children of the remote villages of Sikkim and equalize all opportunities for them,” Ms Sahu said.
This campaign envisions ‘Student involvement in Community Projects’, which will engage the students of SMU and its constituent colleges in various projects for the targeted school children.
Optimum sensitisation of the students shall be achieved by awareness campaigns, campus visits, training capsules and learning modules. It is also planned to mobilise communities to stay invested in the education of their children through periodic workshops, updates and awareness drives. Health camps will be conducted by CRH & SMIMS for students and the affiliated community, with special focus on adolescent health, emotional and pre-peri pubertal needs of the girl child. Counselling sessions are also planned for students & teachers.
Dr (Lt Gen) Rajan S Grewal, Vice Chancellor, SMU said: “With its proven track record of 17000 ft Foundation in Ladakh, along with the support and expertise of SMU under the praiseworthy stewardship of Government of Sikkim, we will synergise harmoniously as quantum force multipliers to enable the targeted students to be future ready to leverage the promising avenues and challenges of the 21st century”.