Students at the crossroad

Masopam Kasar *

ILP :  Students and bandh supporters/ pro-ILPS protesters  at Kwakeithel area of Tidim Road :: 28 May 2016
ILP : Students protesters at Kwakeithel area of Tidim Road on 28 May 2016 :: Pix - Shankar Khangembam

"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both"

Education is the key to success in life. It requires dedication and hard work. Tremendous help are rendered by teachers, guiding them to achieve their true potential. The institution provides them the necessary equipments, facilities, comfort and support. Globalization, population and competition have raided the world. That the students should not be on the street is highly expected, as not to be left behind.

It has become a reality that the lock keeps on changing frequently. "In the Indian way of thinking, a human being is a positive asset and a precious national resource, which needs to be cherished, nurtured and developed with tenderness, and care, coupled with dynamism." Let the students study. The civil society must allow them to stay in their own institutions with their teachers. The pass percentage of HSE stood at 65.22. The pass percentage though slightly higher than last year of 61.09, has a glaring gap compared to the last four years. The pass percentage recorded in the year 2012, 2013, and 2014 stood at 82.86, 81.44 and 76.89 respectively.

If we look across the country and compare, ISC Exam 2016 conducted by ICSE recorded a pass percentage of 96.46. The JCILPS in demand of ILP has crippled the State with bandh, public curfew and protest standing on the shoulder of students. Against the backdrop of Manipur Government passing the Bill, civil society in the hill has resorted to similar tactic with the students in the forefront.

The defying schools had been penalised by civil organisations that refused to send their students and take part in the agitation. "The state cabinet decided to declare holidays in all educational institutes based in the valley from May 31- June 2" as reported in the media on 31 May, 2016. Similar holidays were declared last year. Education is a unique investment in the present and the future. It is pertinent not to meddle with the future.

The irregular conducts of class in the classroom become the norm thereby facilitating the exponential growth of private coaching institutions. Some of the coaching institutes have begun conducting entrance examination which speaks volume of the demand. The number of letter marks holders, toppers and excellent students dotted the page of the local newspapers with the name of the coaching institutes colourfully against their name. Not every student will be able to avail the facility due to economic constraint. "As many as 73 government schools have a pass percentage of zero in the HSLC" reported The Sangai Express.

It went on further and stated, "there are 28 Government schools that had just one student each who passed the exam." It was noteworthy to read to the comment, "The rich and the better off have long deserted government schools which are now left only with children of parents with modest means' at the end.

There was prolonging holidays due to agitations in the year 2015. Classes were denied or either cancelled. Probably they were not able to afford the costly private tuition and economic constraint drive them to choose non-performing government school in the first place. There ought not to be a situation where the wealthier move to the other state to get better education.

The pass percentage in CBSE class X is a whooping 97. 53. What is even more daunting, is the students who score 10 CGPA stood at 1,68,541. In the case of Manipur, Sapam Robinhood became a victim of the agitation who would otherwise have been attending class. Numerous students have become cannon fodder for the police during the course of agitation.

In the hills, 9 people had fallen to the bullets of the state during the course of agitation and have not subsided.

HSLC of Manipur pass percentage stood at 65.4 which is slightly higher than 2015 of 61.5 but it is lower than the figures of 2013 (73%) and 2014 (68%). Across the globe, the 2016 Scripps National Spelling Bee in the US was won last week by two boys of Indian origin- Nihar Jamga, 11, from Texas, and Jairam Hathwar, 13, from New York. Competition has become truly global. Today, students are arrested, numbering around 30 of which their release demanded vociferously.

Given the odds, the students of Manipur have proved their mettle. A research conducted in America stated that those students who miss class for a month could be at risk to fail academically and probably drop out of school. If this scenario becomes a reality, it is a risk the government cannot ignore and the adult civil society cannot take a chance.

The pass percentage in both the exams though dismal they have really worked hard in light of the grave situation that surrounds them. Perhaps, the result would have been better. When students left home with their uniform, they ought to be in the school inside the classroom with their teacher.

The students, majority of them, are either from high school or higher secondary school. Taken this situation, the agitating students are below eighteen years of age. Which means, they are young, not even voters. They are of no legal age. Is it not pertinent to take care of such young students in school and home for their spiritual, mental and bodily well being?

It is the responsibility of the adult to give security and development. It is not their time to meddle in adult politics of who gets what from who and how much. Let them study well, perhaps the youngster will one day make this Manipur a 'Jewel of India' in its true sense or destiny of their own of which everyone will be proud.

* Masopam Kasar wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer can be reached at masopamkasar5(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on June 04, 2016.

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