DESAM negates stand of Edn Minister

By Our Staff Reporter
IMPHAL, May 17: Expressing shock at the claims made by Education Minister Th Radheshyam yesterday that the Government does not have any programme called 'Go To School' but has only 'School Phagathansi' mission, DESAM has fired back with a myriad of questions to the State Government.
Speaking to media persons during an inspection trip to three schools of Imphal West as a apart of DESAM's Mass Reformation Campaign today, its secretary general Sheetal Oinam questioned why the State Government has not clarified about the news regarding the launch of Go To School Mission, at a Government High School of Yumnam Huidrom by the Chief Minister, if indeed the Government claims that it does not have any mission of the said name.
Stating that the inspection by DESAM is aimed at improving the welfare of the students and the condition of the education system as a whole, Sheetal said that DESAM is not acting like an amateur trying to identify every small mistakes and its goal is for all round positive development.
DESAM had laid down the problems and shortages faced by the Government schools so that the authorities concerned can take up the much needed action. However, instead of trying to work out means to solve the problems, it is highly condemnable that the Education Minister resorted to a political gimmick against the student body as if DESAM is a political organisation, he added.
On the other hand, Sheetal continued that during the inspection of Takyel Khongbal High School today, only 5 students (out of the 40 supposed students of the school) were present and when the attendance record of the month of May was studied, it was found that most of the students failed to attend class at the school.
Although it is reported that the school has 18 teachers in total, their attendance seemed to be inconsistent as well, he said, adding that today, DESAM found just a few teachers in the school and even a teacher had taken a holiday, albeit with a letter seeking an off day but with yesterday's date.
Sheetal further conveyed that the record of the mid day meal of the school was also sketchy at best as most of the cooks did not have their attendance signed in the register concerned and most of the benches and chairs which were supposed to be used by the students were caked with dust showing that they had not been used in a long time.
The school also did not have any electricity and its infrastructure was also quite deplorable, Sheetal added.
DESAM then visited Heibongpokpi Lairenkabi Upper Primary School and found that all the classrooms of the school, except one, leaked when it rained.
The school had only one temporary toilet and according to the teachers, 8 in total, the school has 13 students studying from Class I to V.
On the other hand, some of the guardians present at the school expressed desire for the Government to look into the condition of the school at the earliest as the locality has no other educational institution except the said school and the people are so poor that they cannot afford to send their children to private schools for education.
However, during further visit to Sangaiprou Kabui Primary School, DESAM came across a totally different sight as it was found that the teachers of the said school had pooled whatever little money that had to buy uniforms and bags for the students studying in the school and they were also being provided free van service. It was also found that the teachers had even bought toys and other recreational items for the students.
According to the teachers, the school currently has 19 students and the School Management Development Committee, in collaboration with the teachers, had repaired all infrastructure of the school sometime back.
However, there are times when people trespass into the school area due to lack of proper fencing, they said.
Moreover, the area adjacent to the school is a garbage dump which results in an unhygienic situation for all present in the school, the teachers added, appealing to the Government to take up necessary measures for improving the school.