The students of Manipur are in the worst scenario as Manipur violence continues to ravage their state, leaving them trapped in a cycle of fear and uncertainty. The ongoing conflict between the Kuki community and Meitei community in the state has thrown the entire region into chaos, with both communities pointing fingers at each other. Amidst this turmoil, it is the innocent students who bear the impacts of the unrest. Regardless of age or educational level, from primary to higher education, their access to learning and a safe environment has been severely disrupted.
Despite efforts by the government, the real challenge lies not only in resuming physical classes but in restoring a sense of peace and normalcy in educational institutions. The student wing of both communities is protesting in the national capital. But all are upset and angered over the ignorance of the central government towards their scenario. Here we go through a series of situations within Manipur, where we present the problems of the affected students.
Manipur violence sees cries of all people: Students are even frightened to make new friends!
After the horrific video of two girls that were strapped naked, the escalation of the Manipur violence has turned locals very provoking and students have left their homes to be a part of the militants. They say it is for their pride, their right! It’s a war that they must fight! The sole purpose has turned against humanity and the students are not even bothered to look about any bright future ahead. The students are getting daily affected. Here we go through major concerns:
Higher Education collapsed; Many students flee to other parts of India
A female Kuki student shared her traumatic experience of fleeing from Manipur on May 14. The fear of being attacked by mobs forced her and other students to sleep with their shoes on while being guarded by men throughout the night.
“We slept with our shoes on while men guarded us all night, fearing the mob could attack us anytime. I still dream of those horrifying days”, a female Kuki student who made a narrow escape to Delhi on May 14, from the strife-torn Manipur said while speaking to FE Education Online. Not everyone got the chance to leave. We might have been able to escape physically, but mentally we are tormented for a lifetime,” she added during a news interview.
While some managed to escape to safer places like Delhi, not everyone got the chance to leave. The Manipur violence has led to a mass exodus of students, seeking safety in other states, far away from their homes and families.
Mental peace is stranded!
Even for those students who found refuge in other states, the impact of the Manipur violence has been significant. The unrest has severely affected their peace of mind, making it nearly impossible to concentrate on their studies. Constantly fearing for the lives of their stranded families back in the valley, survival becomes their primary concern, overshadowing their educational pursuits.
A female Kuki student preparing for the UPSC exam in Delhi expresses the prevailing sentiment among her peers, where the priority shifts from studies to ensuring the safety of their burning homes. “Studies are the least of our concerns right now; it’s about survival. How can we study if our homes are burning,” she said with tears in her eyes.
Students are hoping for the basic need: the Internet!
Manipur Violence has led to various challenges for the students and has increased their struggles. Lack of internet connectivity has created problems to issue funds for the completion of their studies. The prevailing chaos is affecting the scholarships and financial support that they rely on. Additionally, some students have been separated from their families for extended periods, with no contact and little knowledge about their well-being. PhD holders have suffered significant setbacks, with their research and hard work destroyed during the clashes.
Primary Schools reopened: Only a few students showed up!
In a few areas, where schools have reopened, the attendance rate remains dismally low, as fear and uncertainty grip the students and their families. The once vibrant friend circles between Kuki and Meitei students have disintegrated in many parts of the state, replaced by animosity and distrust. The atmosphere of fear and tension has eroded the sense of community and belonging among students.
Govt is trying, But heavy damage has already been done!
On the first week of July, Manipur’s Education Minister, Thounaojam Basantakumar Singh, along with other officials, introduced the CMCSRS 2023 scheme in Imphal on Friday. The scheme aims to cover approximately 51 colleges in the state, including 34 government colleges and 17 aided colleges.
The main goals of CMCSRS 2023 are to assist students in transferring from their current college to a new one based on their requests. It also provides free admission or fee waivers for students affected by the recent events in government and government-aided colleges during the academic session 2023-24. Additionally, monetary grants will be given to undergraduate students who have been impacted, to help them buy books, stationery, uniforms, and other necessities. The scheme also aims to reduce the dropout rate of undergraduate students, in line with the objectives set by the National Education Policy of 2020.
Earlier in June, the students who got displaced due to the ethnic clashes of Manipur violence were allowed free admission to schools. An order issued by the Directorate of Education ensured that all the affected students would be allotted to the schools without any cost. Recently, various state governments are also planning to provide free education to the students who have been affected by the violence. Even there are discussions where students might be exempted from CUET examinations. CUET examinations were not conducted in the state and were on hold until the situation would come to normal condition. Now they might be admitted directly.
Even though these steps are being taken, the students are in total despair in the state as well as those who are studying outside the state. In these times the people in power must ensure people to provide basic amenities and must try to become a part of their grief. They must stop politicizing the issue. The need of the hour is for the conflicting parties to find common ground and seek a peaceful resolution, allowing Manipur’s students to pursue their studies without the haunting spectre of Manipur violence looming over their lives. Only then, the path to a brighter and more stable future be paved for the promising young minds of Manipur.
For more educational news, click here.