Education minister unavailable to students undertaking 10-hour trek to meet him

Aizawl: In a heartening display of determination and resilience, 111 students from Thingsulthliah Higher Secondary School endured a challenging 10-hour trek through pouring rain and stormy weather to reach Aizawl in Mizoram, the state capital, on Wednesday.

Their mission was to personally deliver a letter of appeal to the Chief Minister and the Education Minister, urging them to fulfill a longstanding promise to elevate their school’s status.

The students said they received support from the Mizo Students Union NGO and that they were received by Thingsulthliah Welfare Group.  The students who started their journey at the early break of dawn reached Aizawl at around 4:30 in the evening. The student union leaders remained while the rest of the students headed back home in vehicles. As they reached late in the evening, the student union leaders waited till Thursday morning to meet the state leaders. 

While these students managed to secure an audience with the chief minister, the education minister‘s tight schedule prevented him from meeting them. Laldinpuia, President of the Thingsulthliah Higher Secondary School Students Union, expressed their sentiment, stating, “We could meet the Chief Minister, but the Education Minister’s schedule was a little tight, so we could not see him. However, our main aim was to submit our letter of appeal, so we believe our journey is successful.”

Despite the setback, the students remained undeterred. They handed over their letter to the education minister’s personal assistant and received assurances from the chief minister that their concerns would be considered in an upcoming cabinet meeting.

Laldinpuia shared the chief minister’s response, saying, “The CM said they will have to look into the matter in the coming week when they hold a cabinet meeting. Until then, we just have to wait.”

To demonstrate their support for the students, all offices and institutions in the village remained closed on Thursday. Even the members of Thingsulthliah Auto Rickshaw & Taxi Owners Association halted their work until 1 in the afternoon to show solidarity.

The students’ mission is centered on their demand to upgrade their school from the lumpsum grant-in-aid category to adhoc-grant-in-aid status. This change, said Laldinpuia, would alleviate the financial burden on parents, many of whom are daily wage earners struggling to cover school fees.

The students have garnered strong support from their teachers, who have endorsed their efforts. They now hope that the chief minister and education minister will acknowledge the dedication exhibited by the students and fulfill the promise made to them during a pre-poll commitment.

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Thingsulthliah Higher Secondary School, with its current enrollment of 156 students and a staff of 13, was established in 2004 and transitioned to the lumpsum grant-in-aid category in 2008.

Thingsulthliah Higher Secondary School is among the nine schools for which the chief minister and other ministers had assured adhoc-grant-in-aid status as a pre-poll promise in 2018. The 41-day closure of these schools in 2018 was part of the demand that the present ruling government pledged to fulfill if elected.

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