Education is the most powerful tool which can bring change to the world. Only education has the power to transform the quality of life and living standards of people by bringing in job prosperity, economic development and welfare of the people through knowledge and skill development. The schools are the basic educational institutes where the foundation of scholars aspiring for higher education and good job prospects is firmed in.
Manipur is facing various odds of poverty, social conflicts, economic underdevelopment and political issues can only overcome these challenges through education of our children who will determine the future of Manipur. Education indeed is a liberating force and in our age it is also a democratizing force, cutting across the barriers of castes and class, smoothing inequalities imposed by birth and other circumstances. Various schools of Manipur including the Catholic mission schools in Imphal have been the cradle of education and learning for Meitei as well as non-Meitei students of Manipur alike over decades, providing all of them an equal opportunity of growth through education.
Undermining the importance of education for our children a few misguided elements have been irresponsibly targeting various schools over years leading to vitiating the educational atmosphere in schools by threats of extortion and in a recent incident by planting a bomb outside Catholic School in Canchipur. The interference by these elements in the functioning of schools which seem to have started for reasons of high tuition fees, inappropriate admission procedures and being pro-capitalists have now transgressed into not only disrupting education of thousands children studying in these schools but also directly threatening the lives of young innocent children who are going to shape the future of Manipur. No explanation by those responsible and have accepted the responsibility for the recent incident, can justify a just cause behind putting in danger the lives of our children going to schools for education and a better future.
As per Census of India 2011, Manipur boasts of being ahead with a literacy rate of 80 per cent as compared to the national average of 74 per cent. The numerous schools both government and private have contributed significantly towards the same and have laid educational foundation of many students who have risen to be doctors, engineers, bureaucrats, academicians, scholars, high ranking defence/police officers and eminent politicians of the country. Improvement in education standards in these schools over the years have made it possible for the students to score higher marks in the board examinations thus opening for them the gates of other reputed educational institutes across the country. Threatening the education institutes in a manner that has been done recently blocks not only opportunities for our children to progress for themselves and their families but also for the entire State denying it the opportunity of empowering its people to bring about peace, progress and development through education.
Realising the importance of the schools for the children various student organizations have always come to their aide requesting insurgent groups not to disrupt the education process. The recent incident has also been strongly condemned by the various Students organisations terming it as truly unfortunate as it put a stumbling block on the progress of society. They have also appealed insurgent groups not to terrorize the students for achieving some specific goals. The sit-in-protests carried out by the school students, teachers, parents and local guardians was an expression of their grief and angst over such an incident and for demanding a secure and fearless environment for their children to get education. The same is an encouraging sign and more people need to condemn such incidents.
The rights of the people of Manipur and its progress cannot be secured by denying education to the present generation of Manipur. The schools in Manipur, especially in Imphal already face the challenge of very less working days due to frequent bandh calls by various groups on various issues affecting the State. It is thus the moral responsibility of the government, all CSOs as well as people of Manipur to support the education of their children. Various issues of alleged corruption and money making in schools must be resolved through implementation of strict regulations on the functioning of schools. Bomb threats to schools will only serve to close gates of prosperity and development. Our children have the right of getting an education to make dreams of their parents come true, to improve their and their families’ standard of living, to grow up to lead our society to prosperity and development and nobody should deprive them of this right and use students as a tool.
We as the citizens of Manipur should resolve to condemn such nefarious activities of people with vested interests who are trying to disrupt education system of the State.