TODAY -

Students' rally against de-affiliation of schools
Source: Chronicle News Service

CCpur/Kpi, January 18 2024: The Joint Students' Body (JSB) organised a protest rally in Churachandpur town on Thursday to denounce 'unfair' de-affiliation of 25 schools (13 in Churachandpur and 12 in Kangpokpi) from the CBSE and unjust suspension of three zonal education officers.

The rally, flagged off by Rayburn College principal Khen P Tombing from Lamka Public Ground moved along the Tipaimukh Road, IB Road and Tedim Road, the town's main thoroughfare, till the DC's office, where a memorandum addressed to the Prime Minister of India was submitted through the DC.

According to JSB spokesperson Samuel Taithul, the memorandum, among other issues, contained demand reinstatement of ZEO Chu rachandpur Jangkhohao Haokip, DI of Samulumlan L Taithul, and ZEO Kangpokpi Lhingtinneng, who have been suspended by the government of Manipur.

In protest of the unfair action by the Manipur government, the JSB had on January 15, 2024 closed the ZEO offices in Churachandpur and Pherzawl and served the government ultimatum to revoke the suspension order of the three ZEO officials and reverse the disaffiliation with CBSE, warning that if this request was kept in cold storage, they would launch a series of agitation, Taithul recounted.

He maintained that the Manipur government's move was unjustified and an attempt to ruin the students' careers.

Placards that read "Reverse CBSE Unjust De-affiliation," "CBSE: Don't Succumb to Manipur Govt Pressure," "NOC was issued by the competent authorities," "CBSE only solution for the Kuki-Zo students", and demands for the reinstatement of the DI and ZEOs were written in their placards.

In the memorandum submitted to the Prime Minister, the JSB sought immediate attention to the deplorable state of education in the 'Zo' districts of Manipur and help in reversing the suspension order, re-affiliation of the 25 schools with CBSE and establishing a central university at Lamka.

The memo to the Prime Minister also stated that since the conflict in Manipur began, education has been severely impacted, depriving Zomi-Kuki-Hmar-Mizo students of a just educational system in which equity and equal access have proven elusive.

It further said that politically motivated de-affiliation of 25 schools was affected by the state government on the grounds that affiliation was granted on the basis of a No Objection Certificate (NOC) issued without the consent of the state government and by officials deemed as not the competent authorities to do so.

"However, as per official procedures contained in Chapter 1.3.25 of the CBSE Affiliation bye-law, 2018, it is provided that 'an NOC means a letter issued by the education department of the state or union territory in respect of a school situated in the state or union territory for affiliation of the school to the CBSE', the JSB pointed out.

In this regard, the Zonal Education Officer (ZEO) is the authorised functionary of the state government in respect of the district concerned.

Thus, the de-affil-iation on the pretext that NOCs were not issued by the competent authorities is legally and procedurally erroneous, it contended.

This blatant de-affiliation of 25 schools in Churachandpur and Kangpokpi is only a politically motivated move on the part of the state government to deprive tribals of a fair educational system, which the CBSE can provide, JSB added.

The memorandum, signed by the JSB convenor Nengzalian Tonsing, while referring to the Chapter 13.14 of the affiliation by-laws, 2018 of the CBSE, said, "The future and welfare of the students studying in the school will be kept in mind while imposing a penalty on the school.

However, the de-affiliation on the malicious pretext that NOC was not issued by a competent authority when in this time of conflict and enmity, and where physical and virtual intimation of the state government cannot be made, is a grievous overriding of the rationale of student welfare".

Mentioning the past instances of discriminatory practices of Manipur University towards Zo (Zomi-Kuki-Hmar-Mizo) students, it stated that ever since the conflict began on May 3, 2023, there is ample evidence which shows that Manipur University is not a safe place for Zo students to continue their vocation.

In a university where these tribal students are hounded with the intent to cause harm, all their belongings destroyed and their documents burned and all their hard work reduced to ashes by misguided peers and violent groups of individuals, it is unimaginable that students will go back to the campus to continue their studies.

Moreover, this sets a dangerous precedent for future students who aspire to study in such an acclaimed university.

Hence, the need for alternative centres of higher learning for the sake of these students.

Also, there have been past well-documented incidents of Manipur University staff members treating Zo students unfairly when evaluating their answer sheets.

There were instances where more than half of the Zo students in a single batch were set up to fail, even though they had been doing exceptionally well in their previous examinations prior to the violence in early May of 2023, the JSB highlighted in the memorandum.

A similar rally was also taken out in and around Kangpokpi town with participation of students from Kuki-Zo-dominated areas.

The rally led by Kuki Students' Organisation, Sadar Hills commenced from Nute Kailhang, Kangpokpi and proceeded towards the Kangpokpi DC's office where a four-page representation was submitted to the Prime Minister through the Kangpokpi DC seeking immediate attention to alleged deplorable state of education in Kuki-Zo districts of Manipur, among other issues highlighted.

The protesters raised slogans such as "Revoke the three education officials' suspension orders", "Free Education from Politics", "We Want Justice", etc., and held placards inscribed "Re-officiate the 25 tribal schools ', "Neglecting education is a crime against the future", "Empower minds, promote fair and accessible education, not political agendas', "We need equal access to education", 'We cannot tolerate a political motivated and unjust de-affiliation of our sacred portal of learning", "Keep your dirty hands off our right to education, no room for political games ", "Manipur Government against the right to education", etc.


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