Jolted by quake, Manipur keeps schools shut

Jolted by quake, Manipur keeps schools shut

The January 4 earthquake has left a severe impact on Manipur’s education sector as several schools have suffered extensive damages, so much so that the state government has decided to shut all educational institutes shut for a week.

And losses other than the material ones have been huge.

Victor Meitei, a student of Class III, wants to become a doctor when he grows up but the 6.8-magnitue earthquake seems to have imperilled his dream. Victor’s school building has collapsed in the earthquake and uncertainty looms over the future of his education.
“Our mud house has also developed cracks but I am very sad because my school has collapsed,” Victor told Deccan Herald in front of the destroyed building of Wangmataba Manissang Upper Primary school.

Thye child comes from a very poor family and his parents, who work as daily-wage labourers, and can only afford his education in government school. As of now, the teachers also do not when classes will resume in the school where 80 per cent of the students are orphans.

Victor is not the only one as many school buildings have perished in the quake, raising a serious question mark over the students’ future.

“We are lucky that classes were not on when the quake struck. The government is aware of the weak condition of the school building. In Manipur, only poor students study in government schools,” one of the school teacher, who did not wanted to be identified, told Deccan Herald.

The earthquake has added to the woes of the north-eastern state’s education sector, which has already been crippled by factors like strikes and blockades caused by ethnic unrest, insurgency and other agitation.

For several decades, many schools have been used for housing security forces. For the helpless parents, sending their wards to Delhi or Bengaluru or private schools have been the available options. Many schools have also been affected by last year’s flash floods.

“For past few years, on an average 100 working days of schools and colleges have been wasted due to strikes. The calendar year is never completed. Many things in the syllabus are missed or skipped affecting the quality of education,” said Moirangthem Angamba, president of Democratic Students’ Alliance of Manipur. It wants immediate resumption of classes and also ensuring that the students are safe inside.

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