Despite the government’s push to revitalise schools under ‘School Fagathansi Mission’, the school structures of Maibakhul Primary School and Maibakhul Development High School under Heingang Assembly Constituency in Imphal, Manipur, remain in deplorable condition.
An inspection by the Imphal Free Press (IFP) found the building of the Maibakhul Development High School had dilapidated classrooms with missing walls and poorly maintained classrooms with limited furnishing. The classroom of Maibakhul Primary school also had limited furnishing and lacked basic classroom facilities. Most of the windows in both schools were either broken or missing.
The schools’ toilets, constructed under PSC, were without doors, while the galvanised zinc sheets roofing needed proper repair.
“Even if the villagers want to address the issue, not knowing whom to approach has contributed to the school structure worsening over time,” said L Biren, a resident of Maibakhul.
He stated that most of the children studying in schools belonged to low-income families. Families from nearby villages who cannot afford high prices of private education send their children to the schools, he added.
Biren highlighted that the schools had a well-maintained staff of around 10 teachers and provided students with free books and uniforms under government provisions.
Pointing out that both the schools are government-aided schools, he stated it is the utmost duty of authorities concerned to ensure quality in school building and education, regardless of the affiliation.
Meanwhile, Loken, a local shopkeeper, recounted that the children in large numbers from neighbouring villages used to attend the schools.
“Families worry for their children’s future and as such, they prefer private schools for their education where they are provided with basic classroom facilities and quality education,” he said.
He pointed out that the number of students appearing for the state board exams from Maibakhul Development High School had dropped dramatically.
He maintained that families are risking their entire savings to provide a secure future for their wards. If the local schools were properly equipped and provided bare minimum quality education it would provide a sigh of relief for the low-income families, Loken added.
Stating that the teaching staff of the school took classes regularly, he pointed out that a memorandum had been submitted to the chief minister highlighting the condition of the schools. He alleged that lack of students and the school being aided could be the reason for the government's disregard.
As such, he urged authorities concerned to swiftly resolve the schools issues and elevate the school on par with private schools.
Maibakhul Primary school was established in 1960 and falls under the purview of the Department of Education. It is located 10 km away from the main town, under Sawombung Imphal East-I Block of Imphal East District of Manipur. The school consists of Grade 1 to 5.
Contrary to the villagers' claim, Maibakhul Development High school established in 1975, is listed as being privately funded on official web portal, from grade 6 to 10.
According to the web portal, altogether 13 teachers are currently stationed at the schools – seven for the high school and six for the primary school.