GUWAHATI: India's easternmost Changlang district in Arunachal Pradesh on Friday received the Prime Minister's Award for Excellence in Public Administration in the category of "innovation" for its initiative New Age Learning Centre (NALC).
It is a flexible, state-of-the-art, futuristic, leisure learning space-cum-library established in the Miao subdivision to enable people from all age groups to learn and improve every aspect of their personality. The space is designed as per the comfort needs and demands of the users. Anyone can access the facilities at zero membership fees.
The New Indian Express was the first to report about the initiative, the brainchild of Changlang District Magistrate Sunny K Singh. He said the effort of a team got paid off.
"The NALC is a product of teamwork. Not just government officials, NGO and community members are also involved in the project. It is a proud moment for all of us," Singh said.
In 2021, he had received a state award (gold medal) for exceptional performance in public service.
"It feels great when an effort in public service gets recognised. It gives you motivation. Since people participated wholeheartedly, the NALC is running sustainably. The team will now work with more vigour and determination," the DM said, adding, "We will replicate it elsewhere in the district. Since it got an award, we hope its reach will extend to other parts of India."
The NALC's focus is also on e-learning to realise the aspirations of a new generation through free Wi-Fi, online training through tablets, e-reading through kindle, etc.
"It is kept open for children and members on all days and also late nights during exams. The NGO volunteers help the library staff ensure seamless operation. So, the idle time has been significantly reduced and the usage has been almost doubled," Singh said.
The quality of infrastructure is exceptionally good with modern furniture and modular furnishing in order to attract students unlike traditional libraries that are filled with rickety furniture and books with common designs.
The space has been designed as per the needs and taste of children and it is in conformity with the intent of New Education Policy. The overall lighting is impressive and the idea of providing dedicated stations for children aspiring to be writers is another prominent feature of the project.
The other features include free provisioning of books, including that of competitive exams, CCTV surveillance, air conditioning and heating to enable children to learn at ease, recording of videos of all activities for future reference and to provide the members first-hand feedback on their activities, promotion of peer-to-peer learning to enable cross-exchange of talent, ideas and skills etc.