Leader Writer: Hrishikesh Angom
The education system of Manipur has been afflicted by different forms of disturbance. The campaign for “quality education” seems to get lost amidst such disturbances which mar the tranquil academic atmosphere of the state. In the past, bandhs and strikes have seriously affected the education system in the state. The months long class boycott called by some students’ bodies in protest against July 23 BT Road firing incident in 2009 and now the strike of COTA for the implementation of 6th revised pay are some instances which have adverse impact on the education. The demands and protests are quite legitimate but the question of “education for all” has been out of order. The state government is the guardian of the people of the state and so it is quite obvious that the government brings out a solution to heal the wound before it gets worsened furthermore.
The COTA has been demanding something which the state government has earlier accepted in a memorandum of understanding and that the demands of the teachers cannot be quashed at any circumstance. The teachers have taken up the extreme form of agitation by launching fast-unto-death strike which has been supported by various teachers’ associations all over the state. The education system in government schools is at stake even though the COTA claims that the teachers who are not on hunger strike are conducting classes to ensure proper academic calendar. However, such things won’t work well for the students. Good education can never be imparted amidst tensions and distress.
The stalemate between the teachers and the government should end in consideration for the students in government schools who are mostly from economically backward families. The state government should at once take up necessary steps for the implementation of 6th revised pay if it is committed to fulfill the demands of the teachers. There is no point of goodness in delaying the matter as seen in the case of FECTAM which was demanding the implementation of 6th UGC pay for the government college teachers of the state. The FECTAM had even resorted to mass casual leave for two days during which the higher education sector of the state was affected to some extent. Ultimately, the state government having no other option decided to grant the 6th UGC pay. Such delayed decision of the state government had caused much loss to the education system.
It will be judicious on the part of the state government to implement the revised 6th pay for the government school teachers from primary level to higher secondary level before any untoward incident happens. Moreover, the teachers should maintain the same courage and vigour they have shown in their agitation while imparting education to the students of the state. The degrading education system in government schools and colleges of the state should be uplifted wholeheartedly by the teachers rather than making demands for their own cause. No one should forget that education is the backbone of the society and that development of the state lies in it. The campaign for making education “free zone” as well as for quality education is vital not only for the students and teachers but for the whole society at large.