Students carried placards with slogans like ‘We want free education’, ‘Education makes society healthy, make it free from all disturbances’, ‘Save students lives’, ‘School is a temple’, ‘We don’t want bandhs, blockades etc.’, ‘Don’t disturb quality education’, ‘Stop politics in education’ etc. during the massive rally.
Students from schools and colleges across the state participated in the rally organized by the Democratic Students Alliance of Manipur, DESAM with an objective to keep education as a free zone in the existing turbulent situation in the state. The rally kicked off from THAU ground and concluded with a meeting at Khuman Lampak sport complex.
The rally was flagged off by the additional director of education (s) department, RK Chaoba today at around 10.30 am.
The rally covered the route from THAU ground to Lilasing Khongnangkhong, then went towards Dingku road and after passing through Lamlong bridge proceeded towards Telipati. After crossing Minuthong it converged at the main stadium of the Khuman Lampak sports complex.
Speakers at the meeting expressed concern over the increasing disturbances to the academic atmosphere caused by the conflict situation as well as political interference in various ways in the education system of the state.
Speaking at the meeting, L Romesh, advisor of DESAM said that in Manipur students could attend schools only 100 to 90 days at the maximum during an academic year.
This was due to the frequent bandhs, blockades and strikes which were most of the times called against the killing of civilians by security forces or extortion demands to the education sector from the underground militants.
The militants demand money from the teachers who live on meagre incomes which is not sufficient to even maintain his or her family, he observed.
He also asked whether their (undergrounds) struggle could not go ahead without the demands from the teachers who are the backbone of the society, further observing that even various civil organizations demand money from them in the form of donations.
As a consequence of it, the morale of the teachers was greatly affected which in turn directly hit the academic atmosphere.
N Tomba, president of the All Manipur Recognized Private School Association who also spoke at the meeting said that if we want to bring quality education in the state, it was a must that the education sector is made a disturbance free zone.
Only when peace prevails in the education sector, academic atmosphere could be maintained and quality education achieved, he added.
He also observed that the major problem facing the schools and other educational institutes was the monetary demands served by various underground organisations which caused tension among the teachers who could not take their classes because of this reason.
Superintendent of RIMS, Y Mohen participating in the meeting lauded the DESAM’s effort to free the education sector and said that in the education sector many groups while trying to obtain contract works and supply orders gave threats and carried out bomb attacks etc.
He also urged that the RIMS should be made free from all sorts of threats.
Teachers coming from various schools located across the state took part and called for a free zone in the education sector during the meeting.