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E-Pao! Opinion - Manipur as a centre of learning

Manipur as a centre of learning

By: N. Arunkumar *


Education is now in a pathetic state in our land. That is a plain and direct conclusion. There is nothing attractive about it any longer, nor does it instill any self-confidence in our capability to take on the world on its own terms. We mournfully let this very significant quest be clouted repeatedly without let-up.

Organizations in abundance have a little or the other to attach to the existing composition of education, and then sit back, and enjoy the fruits of their hard work with delight.

The poor students who have no alternative but follow the diktats like goats and sheep go on to lament their fate in hushed acceptance. The situation has particularly worsened over the past few years to such a low, that no one knows what is what and who is who, in the ground of education.

The board, the ministry, the educational institutions are all at the mercy of the diverse ideological tactics being followed in the land today. When students begin to fix on what they will learn, how they will learn it, and at what pace they will to learn it, then there is no need for any educationist in that social order any longer. We can leave it to the students decide everything; pack up the resource pools and close shop.

It does not imply that students have no rights on the issue, of course. The call is rather to have a healthy dialogue and sensible approach to the needs of the hour and, the students should indulge in that before implementing serious issues, which will predictably control their future in the global arena.

Conversely, if this is the state to which things have been reduced, then what the future holds in store can only to be unsurprising. We are as such looking down a dark tunnel with no end to the darkness although there is supposed to be light somewhere at the end of that tunnel. These revolutionary changes being brought about in education is only going to set the clock back for us and there is hardly any scope to dream of the future with much hope.

If our situation had got better with these introductions, then we should by now had the best educational set up in the whole of South East Asia, let alone the rest of the subcontinent, called India. If our specialists who appear to have the key to every misfortune that besets us had only used their infinite expertise prudently, then the whole of the southeastern region of Asia would have looked up to us for solutions to major tribulations.

Sadly, we are lagging behind in every sphere of activity connected with education, as it is now a mere monotonous routine to be pursued, as there is no better alternative to do anything else during the formative years of growth. There are simply too many restrictions being imposed by all and sundry now on this very vital necessity if we are to survive in the contemporary world.

Where these mostly drastic amendments and add-ons are going to lead us to is largely a matter of speculation only for the moment of course. Too many trial and error methods being added on without proper surveys conducted on the ways and means to do it scientifically. The situation calls for urgent rectification by the society.

We beg the perpetrators of change to please wait a moment and reflect sensibly on their decisions to execute revolutionary concepts in the field of education and do it in a methodical and planned manner. Reckless diktats will not get us the desired outcomes.

While the argument that there are fly by night operators in the field of school education today is a bit legitimate, it is not fair to generalize all the schools as the culprits and judged by the same benchmark. In every venture, there will be all kinds of players, some who adhere to strict codes of conduct and others who will simply break all conventions.

How can institutions of worldwide repute like Don Bosco and Little Flower be accused of being corrupt in the field? It is a strange phenomenon witnessed perhaps only in Manipur. While, this is not meant to defend anyone or put across his or her point of view, it is also not intended to stain the entire educational structure in the land either.

We do have good institutes here, which have produced excellent students in spite of the drawbacks prevailing then too, that have gone on to play their role in the society in the various fields. The fact that Govt. schools have fared poorly is largely due to the acute dishonesty in the system, of which all and sundry are taking full advantage of.

The system has failed due to the vanity of the people running the arrangement.

That may be a bitter pill to swallow. Yet, let us be honest enough to admit it for once. Strangely, there are so many issues of civic life that is in need of urgent attention of the people, which do not get any attention at all. Take for instance the pathetic state of our health care system, water supply and electricity for a change.

These are utterly unavoidable eleme-nts in a modern society and yet there is no sign of any development or progress in these fields. What do we have to offer tourists or visitors to our beautiful land when they come here, if at all, as tourists?

Bandhs, kidnappings, killings for ransom, dark evenings and nights, no places to go out for an evening stroll, no proper water to drink or bathe and to top it all, no theatres or cinema halls worth its name, in the form of entertainment. These are issues that could not only get us out of bed and on the road to progress, but also provide much needed employment generation to our incredibly disturbed educated youths.

Sadly, these constructive issues are overlooked and the backbone of the society, our educational establishments are being molested each day and leading to more and more dissent among the teaching community too. We do not want to lag behind in any field. By the way, there is no doubt that the fly by night operators in the educational field, are too many these days.

They are demonizing the students by professing to be educational institutions, but are run at the whim and fancy of their largely unproven proprietors. They are the ones bringing a bad name to the fraternity itself. If the Government wakes up to the reality of this menace, it will only lead to a healthier environment for all concerned and, the society will then move on with better self-assurance.

If only the explosion of these institutes had managed to bring in a higher level of professionalism and introduced teaching standards of a high order, then we all would have willingly received the same enthusiastically. If students from outside the state had assembled at Manipur in search of better-quality education, thus making it a center of learning, then there would have been no displeased elements at all. Did we interpret that right?

The latest addition to the confusion is the addition of a new language itself into the mainstream education process. We are to adopt a new language and continue our spiritual progress based on that.

While I appreciate the concern of the individuals who are at the back of this move, I must also point out that the manner of introducing such a revolutionary step is sadly despair ridden. There is no technical or educational systematic logic in the adoption of this revolution.

It will lead to further alienation of our small and threatened community into oblivion.


N. Arunkumar wrote this article for The Sangai Express.
This article was webcasted on February 23rd, 2006

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