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Education in a mess in Manipur: Report

Imphal, Feb. 8: Tripura has the highest number of children going to government schools while Manipur has the highest number of kids in private schools among Northeast states, according to the annual status of education report (rural).

Leader of Opposition I. Ibohalbi Singh released the Manipur chapter of the report along with the all-India report here today, which revealed that 96 per cent children in Tripura in the age group of 7-16 were enrolled in government schools, while in Manipur, 66.7 per cent children in the same age group went to private schools.

The national government school enrolment percentage is 64.8.

Assam has the highest number of students — 4.6 per cent — in Class V who cannot read English alphabets. On the other end of the scale, Meghalaya has only 0.1 per cent of Class V students cannot read English alphabets. The national percentage stands at 12.5 per cent.

“It appears that no matter who is in power, private school enrolment is increasing until it hits a family’s budget constraints. Unless the quality of government schools improve substantially, the gap between children who attend them and the others will create a big divide in every aspect of life and opportunity,” the report said.

Talking about the Manipur situation, Singh said the education system in government schools in the state was going from bad to worse and the Manipur government should do something to change the situation.

“The education system in the state is at a critical juncture. We need a scientific study to find out the ills in the education system and make the remedies according to the findings. Otherwise, the future of Manipur is bleak,” he said.

Singh said education was a must if peace and normalcy were to be restored in the state. “As of now, Manipur appears to be a state without vision.”

N. Mohendra Singh, former member of the steering committee of Vision 2020 said Manipur lagged behind the rest of the country by 30 per cent in terms of growth rate.

“Unless the education system is improved at the primary level, Manipur will remain backward even 10 to 20 years from now.”

Mutum Ashok, consultant for the education report and the overall supervisor of the survey in Manipur, said parents did not send their children to government schools because they did not have confidence in teachers.

“While the learning outcomes in government schools in many states have declined rapidly, the private school performance in most states has remained steady,” the report said.

The report further said one of the problems in government schools was many teachers felt they had to wait for the higher authorities to say what was to be done.