By Shyam Waikhom
IMPHAL, December 19: The education movement in the state is progressing successfully and there have been many campaigns for making colleges and schools a free zone for education. However, in Khoupum valley in Tamenglong district, eager students are unable to find an avenue to pursue their higher secondary education in the area as the lone school providing education at this level – Khansillung Higher Secondary School – has been dysfunctional for the last two decades.
Incidentally, the school was named in memory of the late father of the present deputy chief minister of Manipur, Gaikhangam. As a direct result of non-availability of school, the drop-out rate after passing the tenth standard is very high in Khoupum area. The students also suffered from the fact that their poor and uneducated parent cannot afford to send them outside for their studies. Only a handful of them get the opportunity to continue their studies in more academically advanced places like Imphal and others.
Khansillung Higher Secondary now stands as a dilapidated and desolate building. The class rooms are bereft of any furniture and the rooms previously functioning as the boys hostels have been occupied by the security personnel of the power grids.
Sending their wards for higher study is a big burden for the parents as it scoops away a major share of their earnings and in turn badly affects the economy of Khoupum. But there is no other option to provide them higher education. The students complete their tenth standard from local schools, most of them run by Christian missionaries, like DonBosco School at Khoupum Bazar, English Boarding High School, Guithanjang and Kids Glory School, Gaidinjang. There are 30 villages in the Khoupum valley and each village has a primary school but very unfortunately the primary schools are not functioning well except Thanagong Primary School and Ludanglong Primary School.
Some of the primary school buildings have been used for private enterprises like carpentry works and rearing fowls while some have been occupied by Indian security forces after taking consent from the DI of Khoupum area.
Poujandai, finance secretary of ZSUKA, expressed his utter disappointment at the condition of Khamsillung Higher Secondary School. The school lacked infrastructure as well as teaching staff and this has proved to be a major disadvantage for young students who aspire to build their academic future. He dubbed the local government schools as ‘naked beauty’ signifying the absence of furniture and other elements necessary for smooth functioning of the academic sessions despite the alluring buildings.
He said that ZSUKA has been demanding the allocation of exam center for state government board examinations at Khoupum Valley as there are more than 300 students admitted to classes XI and XII in the present session of 2013-14.
Many students from the valley have to spend a significant amount to give their examination in far flung places staying for weeks together and their poor parents are directly facing a resultant hardship. The HSLC examination centre of Khoupum is very often treated as temporary arrangement subjected to omission from time to time, he stated. He further begged the concerned authority to kindly intervene to change the temporary allocation to a permanent one.
Poujandai made a fervent appeal to the state government to look into matter and take up step on war footing by deploying regular and adequate teaching/non-teaching staff and providing proper infrastructure to develop the only higher secondary school there into a model school.