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In Chamu, Govt Schools Sustain On Charity From Public

Government School at Chamu. Image Credit: Sangai Photo.

CHAMU (Indo-Myanmar Border), Feb 14 : Even as the Right to Education Act aimed at ensuring free and compulsory education to children below 14 years of age was implemented all over the country from last year, the same Act  has no meaning for the people of Chamu and surrounding villages. In a strange case, contrary to the purpose of the Act, people of these villages located on the border between Manipur and Myanmar have been contributing from their own kitty and donations to pay teachers’ salaries of Government school. The villagers are compelled to hire teachers at their own expense as the Government failed to send teachers to the schools located at Chamu and Zingshui.

A recent visit by this reporter to these villages located under Kamjong sub-division of Ukhrul district found that the villagers have taken over many responsibilities which otherwise should be the Government’s obligation in the first place.

Chamu Junior High School and Zingshui Junior High School which are officially Government schools but de facto private have adequate strength of students. What is lacking are teachers and infrastructure.

Nevertheless, Chamu Junior High School is the one and only educational institution for the students of Chamu, Matiyang, Roni, Khamang, Phungtha, Kachouphung, Gambal, Kashung and Heijang. The school has groomed a number of Tangkhul and Kuki students.

As it is almost impossible for the students to go to the school every day on foot, most of the students stay in a hostel, said Chamu village chairman Wungshim Kasar.

The school located just about 10 Kms away from the     international boundary line has classes Nursery to class VIII.

The school had only three Government teachers.  Their number was again reduced to two when one of them left the school for a training course under the Shiksha Sarva Abhiyan.

In view of the acute shortage of teachers which was severely jeopardizing the career of students, the village authority and the village education committee took the onus of hiring teachers at their expense.

Accordingly, eight teachers were hired whose salaries were paid by subscriptions made by villagers from the money they earned as MGNREGS wages.

Rice given for mid-day-meal scheme was also sold off to meet the teachers’ pay.

Graduate teachers are given Rs 5000 per month and under graduate teachers Rs 2500 per month, Wungshim Kasar said.

As for maintenance of the school, it is done by the admission fees collected from the students at the rate of Rs 1500 per student.

Though the school has around 150 students, there is not a single science graduate teacher.

In a similar unenviable situation, Zingshui Junior High School located under Ukhrul sub-division has only one Government appointed teacher though it has around 80 students.

“The school is being run by hiring three private teachers”, said village authority member Amos Has.

The monthly salaries of two private teachers are paid from the subscriptions made by villagers from their MGNREGS wages while the third teacher is paid by selling off rice given under mid-day-meal scheme.

This reporter also observed a Primary Health Sub Centre as large as a telephone booth at Salungphang which incidentally is being planned to be upgraded to the level of a block.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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