Schools reopen in Manipur for classes 1 to 8 after over two months of violence

An education department official attributed the low attendance rate to violence-related issues, transportation and fear among parents and children.

Children wait in queue to receive food at a relief camp in Rengkia village (photo: Biplov Bhuyan/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Children wait in queue to receive food at a relief camp in Rengkia village (photo: Biplov Bhuyan/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

NH Digital

A total of 4,521 schools reopened for classes 1 to 8 on Wednesday, July 5, more than two months after sustained violence erupted in Manipur on May 3. An official stated that only 20 per cent of students were in attendance on average, and more so in the plains than in the hill locations. (The hills are mostly where the tribal communities of the state reside, while most of the Meitei community—the majority population of the state—live in the plains, including the capital city of Imphal.)

The principal of R.M. School, Hilary K.H., told National Herald that parents have said that they will "wait and see" for a few days before they send their wards to school, and are waiting for the situation to subside a bit.

An official in the education department attributed the low attendance to violence-related issues, uncertainty of transportation and fear among parents and children alike.

Meanwhile, 96 schools have remained closed, as relief camps for the displaced people have been set up in the premises.

Of these, the highest number are in Churachandpur district (41), followed by 17 in Bishnupur; 10 in Kakching; 8 each in Kangpokpi and Imphal East; 4 each in Ukhrul and Tengnoupal; and 2 each in Imphal West and Thoubal.

Chief Minister N. Biren Singh said that classes 9–12 will resume once the construction of prefabricated houses for the displaced people are completed.

The Manipur government had earlier decided to reopen the schools on June 21 and then after a delay on July 1, but it could not.

Over 50,000 people of different communities are taking shelter in over 350 relief camps across the state now, as the violence refuses to be quelled or even localised and contained.

The conflict has so far killed some 150 people and injured over 500 others, alongside considerable destruction of property, from houses and shops, to vehicles and whole villages and neighbourhoods being razed or set on fire.

What's also curious, for observers, is the decision to reopen of schools for only the younger children—surely the more vulnerable?—while keeping classes shut for high-school students.

With inputs from IANS

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