TODAY -

The grass root challenge - Education in the hills

Mathanmi Hungyo *

Morning Dew School situated at Kapaar Kachoung Village under Kakching, Manipur
Morning Dew School situated at Kapaar Kachoung Village under Kakching, Manipur :: Pix - Shonnai Saka



"Let us think of education as the means of developing our greatest abilities, because in each of us there is a private hope and dream which, fulfilled, can be translated into benefit for everyone and greater strength for our nation." (John F. Kennedy)

As I travelled around the peripheries of our Hill districts of Manipur during the last 10 months covering more than 200 villages, it is unfortunate and perplexing to see the status of government schools and the teachers. The only thought which lingers at the end of the day is the question to self, Have we all failed in our basic duty to provide quality education for our young children?

The schools in the hills are in deplorable conditions in terms of infrastructure, there are no Maths and Science teachers, which overall gives no scope for quality education as the economic capabilities are very limited for the parents to send their children students to the core district areas or the capital Imphal to study in private schools.

Has the government given up the challenge to address the structural problems prevailing in the state and in particular the Hill districts government schools? Or are we too comfortable to just ignore the issues and opt for a gloomy exit of government schools from the education sector in the state?

In the recently conducted examinations, the Delhi Government schools have had better results than the private schools through the vision and commitment of the AAP government and the advisor on Education Atishi Marlena, an Oxford Alumni. Regardless of differential ideologies, it's important to learn as well as appreciate the methodologies that have been used to improve drastically the quality of Government schools.

As we see the commotion of advertisement of private schools luring students like commodities for admission after the results, it is high time to realize and understand whether we are really developing abilities and providing opportunities to students from all walk of lives.

How do we address the paradox - the grass root challenge of education in the Government schools especially the Hill districts of Manipur?

1. Improve the infrastructure of the government schools.

It is very depressing and unfortunate that the invested amount of money has never translated into the improvement of the infrastructure of the government schools. Some of the schools don't even have roofs or even the building in itself. So there is a need of complete overhaul in the approach of supply - result gap for the investment.

This will enable healthy environment for learning spaces as well as accommodation for teachers which will result in many changes below.

2. Mandatory allotment of Maths and Science teachers in all the government schools.

The biggest problem which the hill district schools are facing is the lack of Teachers, let alone Maths and Science teachers. One of the best government schools in the state, Kamjong High School with more than 300 students from class 6- 10 has no Maths teacher since the start of the session of 2018. How can we even think of topping or even to pass when one of the best schools doesn't even have a maths teacher?

Most of the teachers are utilized in the valley for reasons best known to them and many of the valley schools has more teachers than their capacity with very less number of students. This disparity and the unwillingness of the teachers to come teach in the far way schools have only led to the downfall of the schools and teachers. So we need mandatory allotment of Maths and Science teachers.

3. Improve the quality of teachers recruitment

It is a shame that many of the teachers who have been recruited are not able to teach primary level of students as a result of which substitute teachers springing up to cover the deficiency. We need committed and efficient teachers which will address many if our issues.

4. District administration should be empowered

The district administration should be empowered in taking responsibilities for all the government schools of the district in line of accountability for results.

As we see that the district administration doesn't have the power to retain or bring teachers which are lacking in our schools due to other interference, therefore our political representatives should reaffirm their commitment towards our growth in lines of education and make the district administration work upon it.

If our political representatives and the law makers doesn't take due interest in the future of younger generation in their educational opportunities and quality through systematic overhaul of the whole policy in our state, we are heading for gloomy and challenging times.

We need vision, once we address the basic issues given above we can develop different frameworks and programs to demonstrate as well as illustrate the prospect for world class education in our land through involvement of stakeholders with the government playing the lead.


* Mathanmi Hungyo wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer is Director of Recognize Rise and Empower Association and can be reached at hmathanmi(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was posted on June 10th, 2018.


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