Guwahati: Manipur, along with Kerala and Chandigarh, has received top scores in a nationwide assessment of school education released by the government think tank, NITI Aayog, on Monday.
Manipur led the School Education Quality Index (SEQI) rankings among the eight smaller states not only in the Northeast but also on a pan-India basis. The second and third places were taken by Tripura and Goa. The other states in the descending order were Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh.
Manipur scored an impressive 68.8% in overall performance. Arunachal, which stood at the bottom of the category of smaller states, scored 24.6% and would have a lot of catching up to do.
Meanwhile, Sikkim was the only small state that performed well on the governance processes aiding outcomes category.
The coastal state of Kerala and the Union Territory of Chandigarh – which is also the shared capital of the north Indian states of Punjab and Haryana – received top marks among larger states and union territories, respectively in SEQI.
Prepared in line with NITI Aayog’s mandate to foster the spirit of competitive and cooperative federalism, SEQI strives to facilitate knowledge sharing and best practices across states and union territories. Jointly developed through a collaborative process by the Ministry of Human Resource and Development (MHRD), World Bank and sector experts, SEQI broadly consists of 30 critical indicators to appraise the delivery of quality education. These indicators are categorised under the two broad categories of outcomes, including learning, access, infrastructure and facilities and equity, and governance and process aiding outcomes.
Manipur’s remarkable performance in the first edition of the SEQI is also a vindication of the state’s education and labour minister, Thokchom Radheyshyam Singh, who was often criticised in the past for his perceived tough measures to overhaul the state’s creaking education system. The son of a village schoolteacher, Singh has attached priority to education reforms as being critical to the state’s 360-degree development.
Speaking with EastMojo over the phone from his constituency, Singh said, “Not only have we performed well only among the smaller states but on certain indicators, we have done better than larger states. I am very happy and would like to extend my congratulations to the entire team: to our education department, teachers, parents, and student unions.”
Informing that the state would try to exceed its performance in the next year rankings, Singh added, “We aim to lead not only in school but also higher education. Manipur is the gateway to the central government’s Act East policy and in the days to come education will become a very important sector in the state.”
He asserted that the state government would achieve that by enhancing its focus on the “hardware” (educational infrastructure) and “software” (teaching staff).