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Parents set up their own schools in Manipur

A group of parents in Imphal set up a society, pooled in funds and set up a group of schools, reports Rahul Karmakar.

india Updated: Feb 16, 2007 14:19 IST

If you don't like the quality of education for your wards, don't complain. And if you still feel like changing the system, set up your own school instead.

A motley group of parents in this state capital decided they had a few years back realised their children were not getting the best of education across various private and government-run schools. So they formed a society and pooled funds to establish a school that would be "of the parents, by the parents, for their children".

Photo by S Roy

After four years of ideating over the ideal school, the Mega Manipur Society (MMS)—it is often referred to as the parents' club—zeroed in on a 25-acre land straddling a hillock and a field at Tinseed Konjil, some 7 kms from Imphal. And the Mega Manipur School was born in April last year.

"There was absolutely on quality control in schools when we formed MMS in 2002," Society treasurer Gautam Aribam told Hindustan Times. "Even the private schools were taking in over 70 students per class; the emphasis apparently was on quantity, not quality. And the teachers, paid a pittance, were going through the motions."

The 300-odd parents who formed MMS forked out Rs 15,000 each as subscription fee payable in 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.

"The parents run the School Management Committee and pay the teachers' salaries. Our teachers are the best paid in Manipur for the simple reason that the best teachers deserve better pay," Aribam added. "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. "We conducted seminars and debates to come out with the right system. We will, however, absorb the CBSE pattern too."

As of now, the parents-run school offers classes I-VI. It has been adding a few classrooms — cost saving yet comfortable — as and when the children get promoted, and developing 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 bubbly girl, quizmaster in her class for the week.

Being quizmaster is something each student looks forward to, as he or she gets to play the boss in the general knowledge class, Mega Manipur School style.

First Published: Feb 16, 2007 13:54 IST