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Blow to Naga textbook drive

Imphal, July 15: In a big blow to the Naga students’ campaign to introduce the Nagaland school board syllabus in private schools of the four Naga-dominated districts of Manipur, the Northeast Zonal Council of Boards of Secondary Education has decided that a state board should not give affiliation to schools located in another state.

The decision was taken during a two-day meeting of the council that concluded in Guwahati today. The council comprises secondary boards of the eight northeastern states (including Sikkim) and officials of all the boards attended the deliberations.

“The council unanimously decided that the state boards should not cross their jurisdiction while giving affiliation to schools. This is to avoid complications,” Ph. Nandakumar Sharma, secretary of the Manipur Board of Secondary Education, said.

Speaking over phone from Guwahati today, Nandakumar said the zonal council would move a similar resolution in the next meeting of the National Council of Boards of Secondary Education of different states of the country.

The zonal council also decided to send a delegation to the Union human resource development (HRD) ministry to ensure that requests from any state in the region seeking granting of affiliation to schools belonging to other states were not entertained.

General secretary of the national council, P.B. Sharma, today wrote to the HRD ministry informing it of the zonal council’s decision and also the development in four hill districts of Manipur. The national council general secretary attended the Guwahati meeting.

“All the officials present at the meeting agreed that giving affiliation to schools of another state by a particular state beyond its jurisdiction would open the floodgates of a problem of national proportions,” Nandakumar said.

The Manipur board secretary moved the resolution against the backdrop of the Naga students’ campaign in Manipur. Students under the banner of the All Naga Students Association of Manipur (Ansam) first distributed textbooks prescribed by the Nagaland board to private schools in the districts of Ukhrul, Senapati, Tamenglong and Chandel. The move is part of the campaign for integration of all Naga-inhabited areas under an administrative unit.

Naga students made bonfires of thousands of textbooks, prescribed by the Manipur board, in the four districts to intensify their textbook campaign on July 10.

Nimi Maru, chairperson of the Nagaland board, also attended the Guwahati meeting. Nandakumar said Maru expressed the wish that “cordial relations” between state boards be maintained.

“She assured us that at pre-sent there is no move to amend the Nagaland board’s act and rules regarding school affiliation,” Nandakumar said.

The meeting also resolved that the task of framing school syllabi and curriculum should rest on the boards and not to be entrusted to the State Councils of Educational Research and Training. The meeting also discussed problems faced by the National Institute of Open Schooling in the northeastern states.

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