Questions Minister Okendro`s promises on Education

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IMPHAL, May 6: The Democratic Students Alliance of Manipur (DESAM) today questioned how much change the state Education Minister Moirangthem Okendro has brought into the state education system since he had first announced to bring the much needed change about a year back.

Addressing a press conference at its office at Keishamthong, general secretary Arambam Thoithoi DESAM said that the student group had conducted a series of inspection of several schools in Sugnu constituency and found several derelictions of duty on the part of the school administrations and authorities.

A year after Education Minister M Okendro announced that he would improve the education system in the state within a period of six months, there has been no such improvement, he said.

Since the survey was started on April 26, the DESAM team had visited several primary, junior high, High, Higher Secondary, and other aided schools in Sugnu constituencies.

Elaborating on the discrepancies found during the survey, he said that instead of distributing the commodities provided to schools for mid-day meal scheme under the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan to the students, the commodities were found stored at the residences of the principals of two schools namely the Pangaltabi Primary School and Sugnu Junior High School.

He said the student body later took out the stored commodities and distributed it to the students.

DESAM also found that the Sugnu Junior High School was also taking monthly fees from the students against the stipulations of the Right to Education Act, which the student body refunded to the students, he said.

He continued that the team visited 19 government primary schools during the survey and further provided the report of 17 schools during the press conference today.

Elaborating further on the report, he said according to a notification of the Manipur Education Department, a primary school should have a minimum of six teachers, however there were only 48 total teachers in the 17 schools which means that the average teachers in each school is not even three.

Out of the 48, there were also nine substitute teachers, he said.

The total number of students in the 17 schools was 469 and there were two schools Serou Bengali Primary School and Wangoowarukok Primary which were yet to open for the ongoing academic session because of the total absence of students, he said.

The student representative further continued that the substitute teachers were engaged with a monthly remuneration of Rs 2500 to 3000 which was contributed by the regular teachers of the concerned schools.

He said, there were 10 schools which were either without toilets or with unfit  condition while 15 schools had insufficient classrooms.

Thoithoi continued that an order of the state education department says that a Junior High School should have a minimum of 15 teachers, however only 18 teachers were found in the two Junior High schools and one Upper Primary School visited during the survey. Three of the teachers were substitutes, while there were 270 students in the three schools, he added.

There were computers but no instructors in the schools, he claimed. All three had insufficient classrooms and insufficient toilets, he said.

At the three High Schools inspected, only 25 teachers were found although the state education department says that a single High School should have atleast 20 teachers which means that the average number of teachers in the schools in below 9 teachers.

Of the 25 teachers, one was a substitute and only 625 students were students in the three schools.

Further according to the report provided by the student body, computer room was available only at Serou Practical High School of the three and toilet facilities in all three schools were in bad conditions while there were not enough classrooms at Wangoo Tera High School.

The student team also inspected the Sugnu Higher Secondary School which has five graduate teachers and 22 contract lecturers for the 120 students, he said and added that though toilet facilities in the school was sufficient, the  class rooms need renovation and there were no computer rooms or instructors. Thoithoi also said the school was also without an English teacher.

Of the two Government Aided High School inspected, there were only five approved teachers and 32 unapproved teachers for the 526 students and the school building including the toilet facilities were insufficient in all the schools, he said. The student body also inspected one aided Junior High School and found four approved and another four unapproved teachers for the 86 students. In four primary aided schools, there were only nine approved and six un-approved teachers with a total of 173 students, he claimed and added the school building and toilet facilities were not enough and insufficient.

He further appealed to the concerned authorities to look into the issue.

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