The Hill District Private School Association Manipur (HiDiPSAM) has threatened to shut down all private schools in the hill districts of Manipur from September 17 till September 21 if the state government fails to revoke its June 20 order.
The association declared that all school activities, including teaching-learning process in any forms will be halted temporarily within the given time frame.
HiDiPSAM also warned of intensifying their agitation if the education department fails to respond positively to its demands by September 21.
The association has been appealing to the education department to revoke its June 20 allegedly imposing the private schools to waive tuition fees for the students.
A statement issued by president of HiDiPSAM, Richard L. Haokip appealed to the education department to look around how other neighbouring northeastern states are successfully dealing with the issue.
While the state education department seems to view its order as an act of triumph, it has unfortunately revealed the sad lacuna in the department, said Haokip in the statement.
He opined that the education department must be held responsible any untoward incidents as a result of the agitation of HiDiPSAM. “The lackadaisical attitude and irresponsibility of the state have compelled HiDiPSAM to agitate”, it said.
The association also appealed to the parents and students in hill districts to understand and cooperate with the agitation as it is undertaken keeping in mind the collective interests of parents, teachers, students and school authorities.
The release further stated that the association had earlier suspended all forms of agitations against the “unjust” order with the appeal of the hill tribal bodies on July 21 and in the interest of students in the hill districts.
However, it was compelled take the decision as the government has not done anything to resolve the demands of the association.
With the enforcement of the lop-sided orders of the education department, private school teachers and authorities have been bearing the brunt. Since its enactment, HiDiPSAM had been repeatedly requesting the state government and the department concerned to revoke the crude orders which smacks of immaturity, it added.
“Without collecting some form of tuition fee, private school authorities are not in a position to pay the long-suffering teachers. Without teachers, private schools will have to shut down invariably sooner or later. Faced with this dire situation, HiDiPSAM has taken these steps most reluctantly”, it said.
The association also acknowledged the sincere efforts of tribal student bodies in trying to resolve the tuition fee-salary issue. But, seeing the indifferent attitude of the state government, HiDiPSAM has decided to resume its agitation, said the release.
It may be mentioned that All Naga Students Association Manipur, All Tribal Students Association Manipur and Kuki Students Organisation general headquarter had also condemned the said order as it does not equally consider the interest of the three prime stakeholders, the parents, teachers and school authorities.
The tribal student bodies claimed that the order gives 100% weightage to the interest of the two prime stakeholders, the parents and teachers but gives 0% weightage to the prime stakeholder, the school authority, upon whom the former two prime stakeholders are dependent.