IMPHAL: The All Tribal Students’ Union Manipur (ATSUM), Kuki Students’ Organisation (KSO-GHQ) and All Naga Students’ Association Manipur (ANSAM) have expressed discontentment towards the state government’s lackadaisical attitude toward the tribal student bodies over a reasonable and genuine appeal made to the government of Manipur to frame a suitable policy for financial grant to the private schools, in order to mitigate the entire stakeholders during this hard time of COVID-19 pandemic.
In a joint press release, the students’ bodies stated that ever since, the prolonging of lockdown and up surging Covid-19 case in the country, the private school had become the adversely affected sector. In this light, we apprised the government to ensure waiving of students’ tuition fee and payment of teaching and non-teaching staffs’ salaries from the financial grant in order to continue the learning process during lockdown and post lockdown, noted the release.
“On the contrary, it is appalling that the Government of Manipur’s Education Department (Schools) issued an order vide No. 41/1/2020-SE(S) dated 20th June, 2020 imposing the private schools with enrolment of students below 200 to waive students’ tuition fee and pay 50% of teaching and non teaching staffs salaries and enrolment of students’ above 700 to waive students’ tuition fee and pay 100% of teaching and non teaching staffs salaries of their respective schools.
The order does not equally consider the interest of the three prime stakeholders, the parents, teachers and school authorities. It 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, for if the school does not exist, the significance and interest of those stakeholders do not even arise,” the release from the three organizations said.
According to the organisations, it will be unjust to treat the private schools in a step motherly fashion at this crucial time when every individual and sector are socially and economically hit hard by COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, it is the time to pay back and say thank you to private schools as they are the backbone of education in the state when 90% of the government schools are in dormant state of affairs. Manipur stands top in the enrolment of students in private schools when compared to neighbouring states as well as when compared to all India average as per Annual Status of Education Report (ASER), 2018, the release claimed.
The organizations noted that government of Manipur must realize that the situation in the hills and in the valley is totally different. Taking into account of few well-established private schools and issuing order for compliance of all the school in state will be impossible to implement in most of the schools especially in the hill districts. The said order itself is tantamount to deprivation of private schools in the state, the three apex tribal student bodies stated ahead of appealing the state government to revoke the anti private school order at the earliest and rather provide assistance to the private schools in the state so that they can pay off the teaching and non teaching staff salaries and at the same time waive the student tuition fee in the interest of all and sundry.