By : Chingakham Dina, Arambam Karamjit, Khwairakpam Sunita
English medium education is becoming a booming industry in Asian. In the past one or two years, people are anticipating that there is going to be bigger market influence in Manipur from southeast Asian nations. There has been new education proposal and policy, announced in the news to meet the challenging supply and demand of skills and job market in Manipur. Where does Manipur stand to take the challenges coming from our neighbors.
Education quality in India is not good compared with world standard. To figure out the stand of education quality of India with respect to world standard, let us look at some facts. India put students in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) test from two Indian states such as Tamil Nadu and Himchal Pradesh in 2012. PISA test is conducted to check the quality of students among 15 years old high school students. India came second last among the 73 countries. Poor quality and shocking with the reality, India hasn’t participated the test in the following years.
There are large numbers of English teaching jobs in our neighboring Southeast Asian countries. However we cannot tap this opportunity because of the faulty and low quality education system of India. Quality of education in the east Asia and southeast Asia is becoming top ranking in the world. In 2015, the result of PISA test showed that top five (ranking) best education in the world are from Asia namely-
2. Hong Kong
3. South Korea
4. Taiwan (Japan & Taiwan holding the same position).
Vietnam is in 12th position. This result shows Asia’s real good performance in high school education ahead of former Scandinavian countries such as Finland. When we look at city-wise, Shanghai of China is doing excellent quality of education in recent years.
Better English proficiency captures better job and better salary in job market. We educate our youngsters in English medium, however we still are not able to capture the attention in job market and education business.
Foreign Students in India
There are students from southeast Asia and south Asian countries in big cities of India such as Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chenai, Punes etc. We will have more potential to attract those students to Manipur if we manage a good learning atmosphere. Southeast Asian nations such as Thailand, Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia etc share similar food and culture to many aspects with us. There are more similarities in culture, food habit, and similar looks with northeast people. Education business could be huge profitable in Manipur with better management as gateway of India to Look East Policy which is almost opening.
Our Perception of Education about Thailand
Thais don’t speak English because they communicate in a single national language. But time has changed. You will see native English speakers in almost all the schools in Thailand. They have money to hire teachers from the west. So, nowadays there are many international schools, private schools, and English programs in almost every school. Reporters on TV, radios news are exactly sound as native English speaker. Native English became standard in recruiting teachers but still there are many Asian teachers especially from the Philippines. During 1960s & 1970s, Thai people went to the Philippines for education, but today younger generation Filipinos come to Thailand for education.
Students Inflow and Outflow from Manipur
We lost huge amount of money for education as many students are moving to other states. If we maintain high quality, non disturbance environment in Manipur, our students will stay and learn in Manipur. In recent years, there has been growing number of B.Ed training institutions in Manipur. This is good sign for flowing in income to the state. People from other states of India started coming to study in Manipur. We should design our syllabus to produce more better human resource that could be employable easily in other advanced countries as well not only confining in the local job market. Targeting only local government job is wrong as the already existing government employees are not able to get paid their salary regularly due to wrong management.
We need new strategy to bring changes and to attract students. The following points will help to earn more income from education business.
1. Teacher and Students Exchange Program
Introducing exchange program for teachers and students with foreign countries will help to learn and expand knowledge in teaching-learning. Taking home those teaching learning experience will help a lot to improve our education management in Manipur. This exchange program needs involvement of officials, leaders of institution such as signing Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to make things easier for paperwork and visa for teachers and students participating the program. However, the weakness of schools and institution in Manipur, low standard of school infra-structures, disturbance with bandh and strike will surely discourage participation of foreign teachers and students in Manipur. Foreign educators and learners want to learn something valuable in a similar way we too, are looking for something to learn from them. Without improving those infra-structures, it will not be an easy task to bring foreigners and exchange program. Connecting people to people will enhance business opportunity in different fields.
2. English Language
The importance of English language in job market (local and international) is too high. Native English speaking teachers became role model. Even though we produce large number of English speaking youths and teachers, we are not able to enter successfully in English teaching job. We need to train our students to achieve near native English proficiency with better native-like accent by introducing modern language learning technologies.
3. Infra-structure and School Facilities.
Another important step is to improve school infrastructures to attract learners from outside. Our school buildings, facilities, and infra-structures are very poor. They are not enough and comparable the basic thing to that of Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, and Hong Kong etc. Library, sports facilities, canteen, toilet, drinking water, computer literacy, wifi, recreational facilities and all other extra-curricular activities are in poor state and these are very important parts of for education not only classroom lesson in other countries. They don’t look at education for getting seats only for doctors or engineering learning. We neglect those things and that simply reflect to our Olympic performance so that we hardly able to bring medal from international competition. We need to improve these facilities otherwise outsiders will not be impressed to come to study in Manipur.
4. Kids Computer Coding
Computer became compulsory part of learning. There came a revolutionary introduction of computer code learning among kids. The seriousness of learning has become another level in advanced countries. In Hong Kong, basic computer coding has been introduced to kids as young as 6 years old. Most of our kids cannot access the basic of computer learning. Now many countries follow the footsteps of Hong Kong in this direction. We also need to take up such important steps of education in Manipur too to stand on par with our surroundings.
5. Stop Bandh Culture
People are using bandth-strike tactic to solve the conflict. This method punishes everyone in the whole state even though the origin of conflict is not involved the whole society. No one tries to bring solution by direct talk with concerned parties without bandh and strike. Anybody doesn’t care the economic hard causese by bandh-strike. We shouldn’t bring and involve kids as much as possible like in other countries. When there was big conflict in Thailand, the protesters organized their activities at particular place by building temporary stage to explain their causes and propaganda, to solve the problem. They always mind their own business not to hurt people’s interest, business, and earning. We lost control these things in Manipur.
6. Changing Nature of People to Bring Foreign Students
To bring students to education industry depends on the stability of the society. People’s attitude, the peace, the calmness, neat and clean environments will attract many outsiders. Dirty, pollution, unhygienic atmosphere will deter outsiders coming to Manipur. People want to go to USA, England, Canada, Australia etc. to experience the systematic nature of the society not only the classroom education. The science, and the maths we learn in the classroom are the same as those taught in USA, England etc. but they attract students just because of their competitiveness, quality and smooth system of the environment in the society. We need help of local people, clubs, youths, government and non government organizations’ involvement to run the society smoothly. Without basic infrastructure such as road, electricity, water, toilet, communication, we will not attract foreign students. Strict rules imposed on foods and drinks, dress code and culture will discourage people coming to Manipur. As such freedom and competitive business atmosphere are available, there are thousands of foreign students in Thailand even though it is not famous for education destination. No first world country’s students will come to study in 3rd world except for cultural heritage learning if we still cannot modify and provide brighter side of the society. Our potentials will not be catapulted unless we bring some smooth atmosphere in our society. Despite of many odds, we still have better chance in education business if we manage better learning atmosphere.
We need to bring more income for the state machinery to run the infrastructures smoothly and maintain the existing infra-structures, so education business could be one of the source of incomes.
(Chingakham Dina- Working at Pathumwiali School, Pathumthani Thailand. Also taught in Cambodia / Can be reached at chingakham(at)yahoo(dot)com
Arambam Karamjit- Former teacher at SKN School, Nonthaburi, Thailand/Former Retail Outlet Manager, Hang Ten Co Ltd, Singapore / Can be reached at ronin9992008(at)gmail(dot)com
Khwairakpam Sunita- Former teacher at Pathumwilai School, Pathumthani Thailand / Can be reached at sunita.khwairakpam(at)yahoo(dot)com)0