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E-Pao! Opinions - Manipur State Policy On Education Need A Change

Manipur State Policy On Education Need A Change
By: Khamchinpau Zou *



Its over 30 years now since (Kangleipak) Manipur become a full fledge state of the Indian republic with so many changes and developments taking place. A sudden shift from tribal age of 'Spear and Sword' to 'pen and paper' can never come without undergoing the natural process of human renaissance beginning at the root as an orientation for a civilized state. We are heading towards the next stage of civilization where education should be based on creation of resources through harmonious synchronization of modern technology and innovation in science, economic and political fields for a lasting social change and peaceful development.

The price for poor "Policy on Education in Manipur" is heavily paid by the younger generations having the highest number of migration of students in the entire northeast states with about 1000 students migrating to the mainland every year in search of better quality of education and employment opportunities. However, the substandard backgrounds without technical education made them unable to neither excel in their studies nor meet the job market, which very few could manage. Most of them are engaged in odd jobs that are generally below the standard of their education and rest are languishing without hopes including children of law makers and bureaucrats etc. and the situation is worsening.

The present Education policy in Manipur is obsolete, unrealistic, and communally sensitive with neither objects nor strategy without visualizing the requirement of modern standard of education. There is no plan policy for quality education and the system lean heavily on arts and social sciences stressing on memory power when science and technologies including vocational studies play an important role in this modern world. There is no control of education system and the private education institutes are rampaging at their own free will with sky rocking fees and exploiting the unemployed educated youth with paltry salaries. There are no specific eligibility criteria for recruitment in teaching post and neither includes the interest of the urban poor, the remote areas and Hills, occupations and religious sentiments of the people into consideration. Conducting annual examination during Good Friday or in the eve of Christmas or during Id or during harvesting season etc. is common.

Bifurcation of education into higher education (10th-12th standard) and University level (B.A and above) and categorization of schools into District councils, Education department and Grant-in-aid schools (plan and non-plan), School less schools, etc. has nothing to do with quality education. But a deliberate policy of poisoning the younger generation and a systematic way of suppressing the poor and children's of remote areas. It is the system that makes the department of education the most dirty and corrupt, thereby corrupting the society as well. Most of the teachers in remote areas and the hills got themselves transferred to towns like Imphal, Churachandpur, Ukhrul, etc. and enjoy the mid-day meal schemes of the students and the students are left without teachers.

Looking at the present Manipur State Policy on Education, one can only feel sad and be left with only two opinions: -

(a) Is the Govt. not at all concerned about education in the state?
(b) Is the Govt. lacking ideas and incapable of systematizing the education system and completely depending on the central Govt.? Education is both central and state subject and its policies and implementation is cast upon the state government. Especially, primary education, now a fundament right of every student, can invite legal action against the government for any laxity that may be shameful to the government.

Manipur State policy on education should be based on the power of analysis, power of synthesis, power to comprehension, power of applying knowledge irrespective of their economic background and geographical areas. Choice and excellence in education must not depend on wealth but on necessity. Syllabus and courses should be made at par with the national level so that students from Manipur will not lag behind the national standard. Final Examination and results from 12th standard and above should be held and declared at par with the national academic calendars i.e. March, April and May so that students does not suffer gap year for seeking further studies outside the state.

Keeping in view of the geographical location of the state where 75% of its area is hills with lots of differences in habitats and upbringing, the government needs to take outmost caution in its policies especially, in the field of education. The department of Education should be segmented into two broad divisions of cadre under a separate department of a cabinet ministerial rank: -
Manipur Hills Education Service (MHES) cadre
Manipur Plain Education Service (MPES) cadre

Recruitment of teaching and non-teaching staffs in the department of education should be conducted separately and candidates must specify their preference of cadre whether Hill service (MHES) or Plain service (MPES) in the prescribed application form. The selected candidates will remain within the cadre (Hill or Plain) and no transfer or posting should be allowed before at least 10 years of service within the cadre. This system will automatically check the massive transfer of teachers from the Hill areas to the plains vice versa. Minimum eligibility criteria for the post of teaching should be as follows: -

A minimum of 12th class standard for the post of teacher in the lower Primary level with a diploma in Nursery teachers training course if available.

A minimum of Graduate (BA/BSc) degree for the post of Teacher for Junior high school with preference to candidates with B.ed degree.

A Master degree in the concern subject for the post of Teacher in Secondary and Senior Secondary school (10th - 12th standard) with preference to candidates with B.Ed degree.

Maximum preference should be given to the local candidates (district and villages) for recruitment in teaching posts in the above levels of school.

For the post of teaching staff in Universities, a candidate should not be below M Phil degree and preference should be given to doctorate degree holders in the related discipline. Keeping in view of the problems of educated unemployment in the state, local candidates should be exempted from National eligibility test (NET).

Suggestions: -
The concept of grant-in-aid system of primary school and School less school teachers should be completely abolish and replaced with school on contract basis for every villages having atleast 35 houses.

No separate school should be given to villages where a government school is only 1 km away from the villages.

Teachers, who do not meet the above, mentioned eligibility for teaching should be allowed to transfer their post to their children who are eligible as a special voluntary retirement package.

Half-yearly assessment of the performance of teachers should be conducted regularly.

All private schools and educational institutions should be brought under control and the government should fix their School fees, Admission fees, Prospectus, and the salaries of teachers' etc and pay tax to the government as well.

All district headquarters must have at least one polytechnic institution (I.T.I) with one year diploma courses in typing, stenography, basic computer, welding, carpentry, Tailoring, weaving, etc.

More emphasis should be given to science-related courses and vocational studies at all level.

Transfer and posting of teachers and staffs should not depend on the mercy of the politicians and bureaucrats but only on time bound basis.

The practice of appointing part time/guest lecturers in colleges and universities should not be encouraged and if the need arise local candidates should be given preference.

One suitable month (between Feb-April) should be declared as the "All Manipur Examination Month" for all students from 10th standard to Graduation.

Maximum programmes on inter colleges and school debate, symposium, seminar and annual study tour to mainland universities should be organized.

We are the parents of tomorrow's children's! Let us plan their future rather than ruining it now. For we shall not allow our grand children to beg in their own birthplace as we know corruption and ignorance destroy the future.




* The writer is a social activist & Advocate in Delhi High Court and can be reached at kzou@rediffmail.com


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