Taking Education to the last, the least and the lost of Arunachal Pradesh

Arunachal Pradesh has a literacy rate of 66.95% as per the 2011 census, with 73.69% being men and 59.57% being women. In 2001, literacy rate in Arunachal Pradesh stood at 54.34 percent of which male and female were 63.83 percent and 43.53 percent literate respectively.

 One cannot but notice the sharp increase in the literacy rate in the northeastern most state, bordering Myanmar and China. What are the contributing components of such a sudden improvement to the dismal situation ten years ago?

 According to the education department, of the 11,153 students from 84 government higher secondary schools (GHSS) who appeared for the All India Senior School Certificate Examination (AISSCE) in 2018, only 4944 students had passed. In the All India Secondary School Examination (AISSE), of the 23,829 students registered, only 8270 passed. The government-run schools had a 21.22 pass percentage.

 The Newman Educational Society (NES) comes as a beacon of hope in this grim context of the dismal educational scenario of the State. NES has taken education to the last, least and the lost villages of Arunachal Pradesh.

NES, a Registered Society established in the year 2000, is catering to the educational needs of over 18000 students in the last villages of east Arunachal Pradesh. “Most of what has been done is due to the selfless, committed and painstaking service of a group of dedicated young people who have understood the value of education”, says Bishop George Pallipparambil sdb the patron and founder of NES. ”What we have been able to achieve within these 20 years is nothing short of a miracle.”

There are 473 teachers working in the 46 schools under NES spread across the six districts of East Arunachal Pradesh. Changlang District has 11 schools, Longding and Tirap District has 10 each, Lohit District has six, Namsai and Lower Dibang Valley Districts have five and four respectively.

The pass percentage of the 14 high schools under NES is a whopping 96.45. Out of the total of 451 students who appeared for the CBSE and ICSE Board examinations 435 students passed, of which 221 are boys and 214 girls. A total of 231 students (53.1%) passed these examinations with 60 or more percentage of marks. This in a way explains the important role plays in the field of education in Arunachal Pradesh.

“I wish all our teachers a very happy Teachers’ Day. It is with their commitment and dedication that we have been able to take education to the last villages of Arunachal Pradesh”, said Bishop George on the Teachers’ Day. “Thinking especially of how you work with so meagre remuneration, we can never thank you enough. Your contribution will go a long way in the task of nation-building. Mother Teresa of Kolkata, the Saint of the poorest of the poor, whose Feast coincides with the Teachers’ Day, spent her life for the marginalized is a shining example of dedication. May she be our role model and inspiration to commit ourselves totally to the task of educating the last, least and the lost children of Arunachal Pradesh”.

For Bishop George, the schools under NES have larger role to play than just to improve the literacy rate. “It is not meant to churn out intellectual monsters or educated robbers who rob the nation’s poor. It is a social institution with a huge social responsibility. A few individuals passing out yearly and going on with their studies and jobs or business will not make this a school. It should create leaders from the last and least villages of the State, who would always stand firmly on the side of good”, he says.