Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma on Sunday laid the foundation stone for the construction of the new building of Captain WA Sangma Memorial College, Baghmara, in South Garo Hills.
This was done on the occasion of Captain Sangma’s 30th death anniversary.
Meghalaya education Minister Lahkmen Rymbui, Baghmara MLA Samuel Sangma, and Siju MLA Rongara Rakkam A. Sangma were a few of the important dignitaries present on the occasion.
“I was taken aback when I visited the college last time. It was the same as it was 12 years ago,” the CM said.
“In 2008, the college was accorded provincialisation, however, there has been no improvement as far as infrastructure was concerned,” he added.
“Why did it take so long for mere Rs. 12 cr for the College?” the CM questioned.
Without blaming the previous government for the lapses, the CM said, “12 years is too long. However, today the work has begun and we hope that the college will shape in the next two years and will be able to benefit the students of the district.”
He lauded education minister Lahkmen Rymbui for his clarity in taking decisions, which has ensured intervention in the education department for the overall good of the state.
“He (Rymbui) is not a normal politician, he will tell black is black and white is white, unlike others who may confuse you,” Sangma said.
“His clarity of thoughts reflects in the decision he makes for the interest and future of the State and the children,” he added.
Informing that when Rymbui presented the proposal for sanctioning of 12 cr each to Capt Sangma College and two other colleges, he said, “The proposal was so clear that I did not take even 2 minutes to finalise and issue necessary directions.”
Meghalaya government has taken the decision to upscale three colleges, the other two are – Williamnagar Govt College and Sohra Government College with the sanction of Rs. 12 cr each.
The announcement for the sanction was made on the occasion of Independence Day this year.
“It is the vision of late Dr Donkupar Roy and PASangma and their idea that we are able to see this day”, said Conrad Sangma while elaborating that it was PA Sangma who had demanded provincialisation of the college in 2008 when Dr Roy was the Chief Minister.
He said, “What we started in 2008, we were able to complete in 2020. However, the dream of Capt W.A. Sangma, my father and Lt. Lodhsing Sangma will remain incomplete if the students of this college are not able to qualify for IAS, IIT, IIM and different competitive exams. The college is just a building, we want students to transform as good human beings”.
Elaborating on the intervention which is being considered for further improving the education infrastructure in the State, the Chief Minister presented a scenario on the number of seats in Higher Secondary Schools and Colleges in South Garo Hills in comparison to its population.
“In the whole of South Garo Hills, there are about 2380 seats in Higher Secondary School, while 610 seats in College, while we have about 15000 plus population between the age group of 16-20 years, who require admission for studies,” he explained while elaborating on the shortfall in admission due to lack of infrastructure.
“The current gross enrolment ratio in South Garo Hills is roughly about 20 per cent, which will further go down if we are not able to create the infrastructure to cater to the needs of our children,” he said.
He said that if corrective steps were not taken on the scenario of enrollment which is the same across all districts in the State, it will pose a serious challenge for the State as far as catering to increasing numbers of admissions.
He informed that the “Meghalaya Education Policy” has considered different scenarios and has prioritised the sector so that Govt is able to provide an environment for the students to excel and grow.
“We want the youth of Meghalaya to be able to shape the future of our state, we want our people to be competitive, patriotic, hardworking, skilled and qualified,” he stressed.
He also informed that in the next six months, the government will roll out a scheme programme to ensure that infrastructure is created in primary and elementary level schools across the State.