Most of the classes of the Atomyaima Junior High School located at Keibul Lamjao in Bishnupur district, Manipur are being conducted in classrooms enclosed by simple bamboo mesh for several years now. The school was established in 1970, but many of the classroms do not even have enough desks.
An assurance made by Chief Minister N Biren Singh during the state Sangai Festival in 2017 gave high hopes to the teachers and students of the school and the locals.
Unfortunately, the chief minister’s assurance to construct a new school building by demolishing the old classrooms is yet to be fulfilled, as the teachers and students wait in vain.
Several classrooms adjacent to the playground where the Sangai Festival was organised in 2017 were demolished since the year itself. Yet, so far, the new building or classrooms were never set up, headmaster of Atomyaima Junior High School, Tongbram Tomba lamented, while speaking to the Imphal Free Press.
Notably, the said government-aided junior high school is the only affordable school offering education till the eighth standard in the area.
The nearest government high school is 9 to 10 km away, the headmaster said, adding that students from as many as six villages in the district are studying in the junior high school.
Disappointed over the alleged indifferent attitude meted out by the state government despite repeated appeals, the headmaster questioned the government’s motive. Does the government consider the villagers of the area as some “wild animals” without any need for education, he asked.
The school headmaster noted that most parents want to provide good education to their children but do not earn enough. They cannot afford the required finances to send their children to private or other schools somewhere afar.
At present, the Atomyaima Junior High School has around 250 students and 12 teachers of which only four are approved. The unapproved teachers get only Rs 800 as monthly honorarium for their service, he added.
The school headmaster drew the attention of the state government and the chief minister to translate the assurance into action without further delay so that the students can receive a good education and hope for a bright future.
He also urged the state government to look into the possibility of upgrading the school so that it can be recognised as a full-fledged government school. It will help to ease the plight of the many poor villagers of the area.
Meanwhile, one of the school teachers, Ningombam Ganga said that enrolment of the students in the school witnessed a slight increase this year. The teacher said that there was a massive decline in the number of students following the demolition of classrooms.
Pointing out that the number of teachers in the school is not enough to provide a smooth flow of learning for the students, the teacher stated that often the teaching staff were compelled to attend school even when they are sick. They could not afford any leave.
She appealed to the state government to take immediate steps to solve the inconveniences confronting the teachers and students of the school to ensure that the right to education for children of the area is not compromised.
Meanwhile, sources said that the funds have already been sanctioned for the construction of the new classrooms.
It is said that the task is being delayed owing to the fray over who should get the contract, thereby jeopardising the learning process of the students.
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