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Ms Pragati sharma

Aspiring daughter of Sikkim hailing from Upper Khamdong under Chujachen constituency Miss Pragati Sharma bags INR Rs 22,00,000 (Twenty Two Lacs) for pursuing Masters in Public Policy from Oxford University UK under CM’s Free Scholarship Scheme.

SGT: Tell us about yourself & your family

Pragati Sharma :  I am 26 years old and belong to upper Khamdong Busty, Aritar Block under Chujachen constituency.

I completed my schooling from Rhenock Senior Secondary School from Cl-VII till Cl-XII. Uptill Cl-III I studied in St. Xavier’s School Pakyong, Cl- IV & Cl-VI from St. Joseph’s Rhenock and also I did a year of Cl-V from Lower Khamdong Junior high school, as then, my dad was a teacher there. After schooling, I joined Sikkim Manipal College of Nursing to pursue B.Sc Nursing. Post nursing I completed my master’s from MAHE Manipal (Manipal Academy of Higher Education), Karnataka in Public Health; know as MPH (Master of Public Health).

I am born to two amazing personalities: My dad Shri Raghunath Sharma, and my mom Shreemati Indumati Koirala. We are three siblings and I am the youngest. I have two elder sisters, Sushma Sharma and Chandan Sharma.

SGT :  How did it all begin ?

Pragati Sharma: For application to Oxford University, I was to write two essays on any policy issues. And then of course there was IELTS to be cleared with high academic score. After I got selected in the initial process, I had a face-to-face interview in Skype with panel of professors from Oxford. For the scholarship, I applied in HRDD via SIDICO office. It was a long process and ended with good news J. I am very thankful to staff in SIDICO for seamless process and going out of their way to help my process my application in a correct manner. Also, many thanks for the government for developing such schemes/policies, which benefit motivated students, who would otherwise, not be able to grab such opportunities due to financial situation.

SGT: Was it always been your dream to go abroad for studies ?

Pragati Sharma : No it was not a dream to study abroad, it sort of happened on its own. But I always had this fascination and certain amount of curiosity about British Culture and the University of Oxford’s education standards.

SGT: How does it feel to get into one of the top universities in the world ?

Pragati Sharma : Life at Oxford is great. Intellectual immersion at its best. With a class cohort from 70 countries around the world, learning is more rewarding and more fun

SGT: Is there anybody u would like to thank/remember ?

Pragati Sharma : I would like to thank my parents, sisters and teachers who shaped me

SGT: Your course at oxford?

Pragati Sharma :My course is named Master of Public Policy. It entails understanding governance and policy issues. Policy analysis and policy framing is the core of this degree.  We have a cohort from approximately 90 countries in BSG (Blavatnik School of Government), my department in the University of Oxford. This huge global cohort was one of the main reasons I applied to Oxford. I believe experience sharing and discussion from corners of world will give us new perspective, and perspective leads to creativity and innovation, and finally brings change locally and globally

SGT:  Your Academic/ Professional  profile so far ?

Pragati Sharma : I am a Public Health professional and have worked throughout in Public health after I completed my masters (MPH)  in 2013. My first job was with Jhpiego- an affiliate of John Hopkins University. Its an iNGO working for maternal and child health. I was with Jhpiego-India in the state of Jharkhand working as Programme Officer from Sept ’13 till March ’15. In 2015, I got selected to work with Unicef as state RMNCH+A Coordinator for Sikkim. RMNCHA+A stands for Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health.

It was an extremely emotional achievement for me to be able to join an organization with such repute, and at the same time, work for my state, which I love with all my heart.

In Sikkim, I provided technical support to the state NHM team (National Health Mission) for RMNCH+A related interventions. I frequently travelled to West Sikkim for Supportive Supervision visits and did district and state advocacy to fill the gaps found in those visits. I had an amazing 18 months in Sikkim. My last day with Unicef in Sikkim was on 16th September 2016.

SGT:  Your vision for State/Nation ?

 Pragati Sharma : I have worked in Public Health for three years and intend to continue doing that. Till now I was in a phase were I was working in field, the policies that were already framed, but my long-term goal is to be a policy maker myself. Maybe some years from now I can reach there with experience and diligence. I particularly want to work for Children’ health and later go on to work for Child rights. Working in development sector is immensely satisfying and I will be in this sector all my professional life and after. In this era of technology, I right now envision India to be a completely digital country making it a paperless system of governance. In my viewpoint, this will help us develop economically and also develop our systems. Economically because the chance of wrong utilization of Government’s revenue will be controlled to a major extent and also it will make our baseline data rich. This will lead to data driven policymaking and will benefit the entire country in the long run.

SGT: A few words to your reader

Pragati Sharma :  Do indulge yourselves in community development. Start engaging with local community and share ideas and solution for problems. Democracy is a collective responsibility and so is governance. Also, compassion and empathizing is equally important if we want to see beyond our own individual world. So, it is important to feel for someone else’s problem and stand in his/her shoes. Also, I would urge them to travel and read, especially to the youngsters. Travelling widens your horizon. Go to a different village, interact with a local reader, see the different systems, I am sure when we return back, we will have new perspectives about our own village, about our own leaders. This will fuel creativity and lead to positive change.

Your comment on Sikkim, its development and achievements?

Sikkim, as a state in India, is now globally known for its achievements. Be it in organic mission or in swatch bharat, we have good accolades coming our way. Our Human development report for Sikkim names it all. Good governance and political commitment has raised Sikkim to global standards and we as Sikkemese feel proud to be born in this land. I hope Sikkim sustains all its achievement and goes much beyond in future in the field social entrepreneurship, and agriculture.