Manipur Schools Reopen After 2 Months, Attendance Thin On First Day


IMPHAL: After remaining shut for more than a couple of months because of ethnic clashes, schools reopened across Manipur on Wednesday. Though attendance in most institutes was extremely low on the first day, students, parents and guardians welcomed the state government’s decision to resume classes. Chief Minister N Biren Singh had on Monday announced the government’s decision to reopen schools up to class 8 from July 5.

 Most students with whom PTI interacted were happy to get back to school. Class 1 student Linthoi said, “I am very happy. Finally, after a two-month wait, I will be able to meet my friends and teachers. Moreover, I will learn new things.”

She said the shutting down of schools had made her life extremely idle and boring. Several students said the state government should take steps to ensure that schools remain open for at least a few hours daily even if the situation is tense.

Bhabesh Sharma, father of a class 4 student, hoped that the situation remains normal for classes to continue. “I’m keeping my fingers crossed. Education is the key and I sincerely hope that peace returns to the state,” he said. He, however, added that students’ security remains his concern.

Laishram Ibochouba, parent of a class 5 boy, appreciated the government’s decision to resume classes. “I hope the government takes safety measures for students in case of any untoward incident,” he said.

“I am not scared to send my kids to school because the institute lies in the heart of Imphal. But it will be great if the government makes arrangements for the safety of students,” he said.

Upendro Pukhrambam, whose daughter studies in class 2 at UNACCO, said, “I sent my kid to school. The unrest is mostly on the outskirts of Imphal valley and Greater Imphal area has been mostly peaceful. It’s time we gradually return to normal life.”

Headmistress of Wangkhei High School RK Ranjita Devi welcomed the government’s move to resume classes. “With schools remaining closed since the first week of May, most of the students couldn’t concentrate in their studies and their minds remained diverted,” Devi said.

She said attendance on the first day in her school was just around 10 per cent. “I am hopeful that it will increase in the days to come,” she added. “We cannot neglect the future of students. This is the time they acquire new knowledge. Therefore, we should try our level best to continue with regular classes,” she said, adding that the school will take necessary steps for the security of students.

She said no student will be allowed to go home if any violent incident occurs when classes are going on. “We will allow students to go home only if their parents come to pick them up,” she added. Devi said since there is a ban on internet, online classes are also not possible. “Due to internet ban, online classes are not possible. So in the interest of students, we will give assignments and homework during regular classes,” she said.

Sister Binda, principal of St George’s School, said, “Less than 100 students turned up for classes on the first day, but we expect the numbers to rise in the coming days. Many of the schools are serving as relief centres and some well-known schools in Imphal have central forces stationed in them. Under such circumstances, it will take some more time for things to get normal.”

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