Amidst a severe shortage of teachers, Kadangband High School, the only government school in the Kadangband village under the Imphal West district, has managed to maintain its educational operations with the aid of five dedicated volunteer educators.
The school, grappling with an acute staff deficiency, has been functioning with only two teachers. Adding to its challenges, the ongoing communal conflict has led to a significant surge in student enrollment.
Situated approximately 20 kilometers away from Imphal city, Kadangband has become a focal point for armed miscreants, negatively affecting the local population, especially students. The volatile situation has prompted many students to transfer to other schools. A majority of Kadangband's residents rely on farming for their livelihoods, and due to economic constraints, enrolling in Kadangband High School remains the primary option for education.
Since the crisis erupted on May 3rd, the villagers of Kadangband have united to safeguard their community from attacks, often spending nights together at the local community hall. Given the challenging circumstances, engaging in routine activities has become arduous for the residents. Despite these hardships, the villagers have taken the initiative to provide voluntary teaching services, instilling hope in parents who worry about their children's educational future.
Chinglen Thingujam, the General Secretary of Kadangband Naharol Apunba Lup (a local club), expressed concerns about the setbacks faced by students in Kadangband due to the ongoing crisis. He explained that many students were unable to access schools in safer areas due to security concerns, leading them to enroll in Kadangband High School.
"We really worry about the future of our children. We don’t have any other options except to take admission to Kadangband High School. As this school has also under staffed from before, local people had urged to concerned authorities several times about filling up the required number of staff. However, we didn’t receive any result of our effort,” he lamented,'' lamented Chinglen.
In a collective effort with women's organizations (Meira Paibi), local clubs, and concerned individuals, the community decided to provide voluntary teaching services at Kadangband High School. Five enthusiastic volunteers stepped forward, determined to make a difference. Thanks to their dedication, the school resumed classes on August 14th.
"For the time being, we manage to run the school with these five volunteers and two teachers of this school. But for how long we can extend voluntary service is something we always keep asking ourselves. As such I would like to request to state government to kindly send a required number of teachers at the earliest. We also want our children to get the same privilege and opportunity that students in good schools are getting,” he urged.
Langpoklakpam Hemjit, one of the volunteer teachers, highlighted his concern for the students' futures as the driving force behind his decision to provide voluntary teaching services. His passion for teaching and dedication to the students have kept him motivated despite the challenges.
"By profession, I am a programme presenter at Diamond Radion located in Khongjom which is very far from my place Kadangband. Above this, guarding our village is also another activity which we cannot deny. Doing all this and taking up voluntary service of teaching is not an easy thing. But I can successfully manage as it is my passion to teach students,” he stated," he shared.
Hemjit also urged all teachers assigned to Kadangband High School to prioritize their duty and affirmed the pivotal role that educators play in shaping society. "Good teachers are essential for a good society. Every teacher should embrace this idea," he concluded.
As Kadangband High School navigates this challenging period, the community's collective determination and dedication to education stand as a beacon of hope for the students and their families.
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