Only 12% students in state opt for Science, rues James

Science and Mathematics are subjects that will be key drivers of growth and development of human civilisation: Health minister

SHILLONG, Oct 4: Health Minister James Sangma has lamented the fact that only 12 per cent students in Meghalaya have been found to opt for Science stream at the +2 level. The minister based this observation on a moot point of his address, wherein he emphasised on the need to direct health expenditure towards the primary aspects of healthcare.
James Sangma was speaking as the chief guest of a programme organised by the Indian Institute of Public Health-Shillong (IIPH-S) to highlight public health concerns in the state.
It may be mentioned that an assessment of the Meghalaya Board of School Education (MBoSE) HSSLC results 2020 have revealed that only 12 per cent of students in Meghalaya took up Science stream while 7 per cent opted for Commerce stream, and a whopping 81 per cent students belonged to the Arts stream.
Whereas in more developed states such as Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and Maharashtra, the percentage of +2 level students opting for Science ranges between 70-85 per cent.
Continuing his address, the minister added, “Science and Mathematics are subjects that will be key drivers of growth and development of human civilisation. They will aid in providing effective and concrete solutions to complex problems associated with not only health but also other complex problems like climate change and environmental concerns”.
Stressing on the importance of strengthening public health initiatives in the state, he emphasised on the importance of building the primary sector by directing health expenditure towards not only strengthening the tertiary, but more so the primary aspects of healthcare.
It may be recalled that Meghalaya was last month declared as one of the top three states in the ‘Small State Categories’ with highest hospitalisation rate, indicating effective implementation of the health insurance programme.
The minister, therefore, has assured to initiate discussion with Chief Minister Conrad Sangma over providing scholarships to students, particularly those belonging to marginalized communities in rural areas, in a bid to encourage them to pursue career avenues in Science.
The minister also appreciated the IIPH-Shillong for launching the Bachelors in Public Health (BPH) programme starting this year, with the objective to create opportunities for Science students in state and address the shortage of public health experts.
Congratulating the first batch of Masters in Public Health (MPH) students for successfully completing their degree from IIPH-Shillong, the minister commended the institute for its support to the Health & Family Welfare department through their expertise in the realm of research and academia in various domains of public health.
Valuable analysis and presentations were made by the first batch of graduated MPH students on a range of public health issues in the state including ‘Birth Preparedness and Complication Readiness among Women’, ‘Assessment of Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakram (JSSK) Scheme’, besides other relevant topics such as institutional delivery, IMR and MMR, among others.
On the other hand, Principal Secretary, Health, Sampath Kumar, who was the guest of honour, said that Meghalaya stands in 4th position among all states in terms of government budget spending on healthcare and the focus now should be on ways to improve health indicators with increased spending.
“Collaboration between various stakeholders as well as government line departments is the key to improve health indicators in the state. There should be motivation and an intrinsic desire among functionaries to improve health indicators,” he added.
The programme witnessed participation and interaction among key officials of the Directorate of Health Services (DHS), NHM-Meghalaya, including officials from the Health department along with the students and faculty members of IIPH-Shillong.

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