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Govt initiative ‘SPARK’ aims to impart core soft skills to students

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More than 600 participants enrolled in pilot programme

SHILLONG, March 27: Education department and Samagra Shiksha, State Education Mission Authority of Meghalaya (SEMAM), launched the School Programmes in Articulation, Resilience and Kindness (SPARK) in the state in 4 campuses across four districts viz., East Khasi Hills, East Jaintia Hills, West Garo Hills and South West Khasi Hills, on Tuesday.
SPARK is Meghalaya government’s initiative that follows from existing flagship youth engagement programmes in the state.
It aims to deliver foundational skill sets to young adults of the state, serving as a launch pad for other skilling and well-being programmes for adolescent youth. The focus is on imparting core soft skills through training provided to students to instil confidence, improve communication and nurture STEM awareness and a solution seeking mindset. The modules are to be delivered by experienced instructors across districts in campuses through the implementing agency, Avenues, a Meghalaya-based life coaching and personal excellence training social enterprise.
The SPARK campuses launched so far include Pine Mount School, Shillong, with 165 student enrolments; Rymbai Government Secondary School, Rymbai, with 171 student enrolments; Government Boys Higher Secondary School, Tura, with 120 student enrolments; and Mawthawpdah Presbyterian Higher Secondary School, Mawthawpdah, with 161 student enrolments, bringing the total to over 600 participants enrolled in the pilot training interventions. The student audience for SPARK are those studying in Classes 8, 9 and 10.
District School Education Officer (DSEO) of East Khasi Hills Meribamon Lyngwa was present at the launch of SPARK in Pine Mount School, Shillong, and introduced the initiative.
“By incorporating core National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 guidelines pertaining to critical thinking, social and ethical capacities, I am sure that SPARK will help build young individuals who can communicate with clarity and confidence, are ready to accept changes, embrace challenges and move forward with resilience, and become exemplary and kind human beings,” Lyngwa said.
Meanwhile, DSEO of South West Khasi Hills Denis G Nongsiej spoke at the launch of the initiative in Mawthawpdah Presbyterian Higher Secondary School, Mawthawpdah, stressing on the need to build soft skills in young people. “It’s not enough to just speak, but to be able to speak well so that people understand and remember what you say, is a much needed skill today. Through this programme, I hope you will be able to learn how to build yourselves up and prepare for the future ahead. From the spark that you already are to a burning flame – not the kind that destroys but the kind that offers light, warmth and courage,” he said.
The campus launches took the participants through engaging activities such as foundational speech drills and positive body language practices. The Principals and teachers of the participating classes were also present in each of the launch programmes.
It may be mentioned that the training programmes under SPARK will be deployed in all 12 districts of the state in the weeks ahead.

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