National Teachers' Award 2023: A Beacon of Education in Manipur's Keibul Lamjao
National Teachers' Award 2023: A Beacon of Education in Manipur's Keibul Lamjao

Imphal:  Ningthoujam Binoy Singh has been flooded with well-wishes and congratulatory messages since receiving the esteemed National Teachers' Award 2023 from President Droupadi Murmu. Singh, serving as the headmaster-in-charge of a local government upper primary school in the remote Keibul Lamjao region of Manipur, has earned this national recognition for his exceptional contributions to the field of education. Situated in proximity to the renowned Keibul Lamjao National Park, the world's largest floating wildlife park and a habitat for the rare and endangered brow-antlered deer, the school has undergone a remarkable transformation and rejuvenation.

From a Mere Five to Overwhelming 200+ Students

Singh is the driving force behind the revival of the once-neglected and dilapidated Chingmei Primary School, which initially had just five students. Today, it stands proudly as an upper primary school, accommodating a whopping 232 students, adequately staffed with teachers. It has become a prominent and highly sought-after educational hub for students in the area, according to an official statement. Additionally, Singh is currently providing free education, including uniforms and study materials, to approximately 20 students from relief camps. These students were displaced due to ethnic conflicts and have found refuge in nearby shelters.

Acknowledging his substantial contributions to the overall development of education, Singh, along with 74 other educators from across the nation, was honored with the National Teachers' Award on the occasion of Teachers' Day, celebrated on September 5th.

A Continuing Journey to Foster Education

"I am delighted to receive this award, which is a testament to my dedication to advancing education in my village. However, this is not the end; my journey to enhance education continues. My goal is to ensure that the young generation of Keibul and the surrounding areas are literate," Singh remarked on a recent Saturday.

Reflecting on his journey, Singh shared that he started as an assistant teacher at Chingmei Primary School in 2002. He described the school's initial state as deplorable, with crumbling walls, worn-out and shabby furniture, and a cluttered floor. At that time, there were only five students and three teachers, including himself. Observing the dismal condition of the school, local parents were sending their children to costly private institutions. Determined to transform their school, Singh decided to fund repairs and purchase new furniture from his own resources.

"I then recruited an additional five teachers from nearby private schools, offering them slightly higher salaries than what they received previously. As word spread about the improvements at our school, with a total of eight teachers and a revitalized infrastructure, parents and guardians from our village and neighboring areas began sending their children to us," Singh explained.

A Transformed Learning Environment

Students of the school attested to the remarkable changes it has undergone over the years. Yaiphabi Chanu, a seventh-grade student, shared, "I used to attend a private school, but this year my parents enrolled me in this school after witnessing the quality education provided here. All the teachers at the school are exceptional, and I have learned significantly since joining." Jenita Ningthoujam, an eighth-grade student, added, "Our education here is on par with private schools. The school also offers a wide range of extracurricular activities, including sports and music."

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