If you don't like the quality of education your child gets and complaining about it doesn't help much, there is something else you can do about it — set up your own school. This is what a motley group of parents in the state capital did.
A few years back, when these concerned parents realised that their children were not getting the best of education, they formed a society and pooled funds to create a school that would be "of the parents, by the parents, for their children".
Four years later, the Mega Manipur Society (MMS) — it is often referred to as the parents' club — zeroed in on 25 acres of land straddling a hillock and field in Tinseed Konjil near Imphal. And the Mega Manipur School was born in April last year.
"There was absolutely no quality control in schools when we formed MMS in 2002," Society treasurer Gautam Aribam said. "Even the private schools had over 70 students a class. Clearly, the emphasis was on quantity, not quality."
The 300-odd parents who formed MMS forked out Rs 15,000 each as subscription fee that was paid over three years. The state government helped by allotting a larger portion of the land, and as the membership increased — and subscription doubled — the school took shape.
"Our teachers are the best paid in Manipur for the simple reason that the best teachers deserve better pay," Aribam said. "We are also strict about a teacher-student ratio of 1:20."
So what does Mega Manipur School offer that others don't? "Montessori system with local adjustments and lots of practical learning," said principal M Elizabeth.
As of now, the school has classes from Nursery to VI. It plans to add a few classrooms every year and develop the campus for playfields and trekking trails.
The children too seem to be enjoying their "family school". Yumnam Sanjana, who used to fail in mathematics in a missionary school, is now among the Class VI toppers. "School is fun," said the girl.