Beyond Academics: Community Ownership Drives Success At GHS In Longjang, Saring - Eastern Mirror
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Beyond Academics: Community ownership drives success at GHS in Longjang, Saring

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By Henlly Phom Odyuo Updated: May 03, 2024 12:52 am
GHS
GHS Saring in Mokokchung district.

DIMAPUR — Despite facing challenges like infrastructure limitations and shortage of teachers, government schools in Nagaland continue to play a crucial role in making education accessible to students across diverse socio-economic backgrounds. Two shining examples within the public education system in Nagaland are Government High School (GHS) Longjang and GHS Saring, both located in Mokokchung district.

GHS Longjang has achieved 100% pass percentage for the seventh consecutive year, with nine students passing the 2024 High School Leaving Certificate (HSLC) exam. Similarly, GHS Saring also registered 100% pass percentage for the sixth year with six students passing the exam this year.

While the consistent success rate is no doubt impressive, it is the underlying factors driving this success that truly sets these schools apart. Both the institutions have fostered a strong culture of community engagement and ownership, recognising that academic achievement goes hand-in-hand with a supportive and involved community.

Community-driven boarding

The academic in-charge at GHS Longjang, Wapang Imchen, told Eastern Mirror that the commitment and collaboration between the village council, church, student bodies, community members and parents ensured that the quality of education improves in the village.

One key initiative spearheaded by the school management, with active involvement of the council, church and student bodies, is a unique hostel-like boarding system for Class 10 students. To provide a focused learning environment during the crucial months leading up to the HSLC exams, teachers run the boarding system from October onwards through monthly contributions.

Imchen said that three wardens and a cook are employed to take care of the students, while the community provides additional support. Since the boarding is run on a budget with the contributions from the teachers and assistance from the Church, council and student bodies, students return home for lunch and dinner at designated times, while snacks and tea are provided by the management.

The management’s purpose is to provide a result-oriented learning environment, Imchen said.

“The initiative, so far, has benefited the students and the guardians, that is why the parents and guardians have been co-operating towards this initiative and the result-oriented learning environment for the students has so far been productive,” he said.

Besides the boarding system, the school has qualified teachers, computer facilities, library and decent infrastructure. However, the strong support system from families and the community within the village is truly the cornerstone of their success, he maintained.

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GHS Longjang in Mokokchung district.

Personalised learning plans

Located on the Nagaland-Assam border, approximately 77 kilometres from Mokokchung district headquarters, GHS Saring is a composite school (Grade A-10).

Upgraded under the Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) in 2016, efforts to merge the high school and primary school sections were hindered by the lack of sufficient classrooms in the GHS building.

“However, through the concerted efforts of teachers and the School Management and Development Committee (SMDC), both sections were successfully merged in 2022, thanks to a financial drive and contributions from teachers and the community,” said Yapang Jamir, a senior teacher who has been serving at GHS Saring for over 12 years.

Having served as the teacher in-charge till 2023, Jamir is a recipient of Zonal Teacher’s Award under SDEO Mangkolemba 2009 and District Teacher’s Award 2023 for guiding GHS Saring to five consecutive years of academic success.

A significant accomplishment is the school’s six-year streak of 100% pass rate in the HSLC examinations from 2019 to 2024, he noted.

Sharing insights into the school’s journey, Jamir acknowledged challenges such as limited teaching staff, with 13 members led by an Assistant Headmaster (AHM), and the absence of a clerk or any fourth-grade employees.

“One notable deficiency is the lack of dedicated upper primary teachers, with only one Hindi teacher serving in that capacity,” he said.

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GHS Longjang boarding.

The school also faces challenges due to the frequent transfer of teachers under the rationalisation policy since 2010, with six teachers and their posts being relocated to different urban areas.

Despite these challenges, he said, the school has thrived due to the unwavering dedication and commitment of its educators.

“As we have fewer students compared to other schools, each teacher tries to come up with personalised learning plans tailored to each student’s strengths and weaknesses, ensuring individualised support and attention. Additionally, the teachers implement ongoing assessment and feedback mechanisms to address learning gaps,” he explained.

In a display of community support, the Saringyim Village Council, resolved in 2018, to provide financial reward of INR 5000 each to student who successfully passes the HSLC exam, for five years.

On the school’s impressive 100% pass percentage, he attributed the achievement to “the unwavering support of the Church, SMDC, village council, parents and students, who have contributed significantly to the school’s success through prayer and encouragement”.

The unsung heroes

Amidst the state-wide jubilation over the recently announced HSLC and HSSLC exam results, a resident of Longjang village offered a poignant reflection on the often-overlooked contributions of primary school teachers.

“Teachers have greatly impacted us from the early years of nursery school to the highest levels possible and teachers in their various capacities and levels play a significant role,” he told this newspaper.

However, he lamented the tendency to overlook the crucial role of primary school teachers, the caregivers who lay the foundation for future academic success. “Often the trend is to celebrate teachers of final classes while those who lay the good foundation are completely forgotten,” he pointed out.

He reminded that many children enter primary school with limited abilities, struggling to write or even care for their basic needs. He said that primary school teachers face numerous challenges in guiding these young learners, and their dedication and efforts lay the groundwork for the achievements celebrated in later years.

While maintaining that he does not mean to disregard the contribution of the high school teachers, he said the primary teachers, who lay the foundation, are often overlooked during occasions to celebrate the success of students, and “this seems to be universal”.

6107
By Henlly Phom Odyuo Updated: May 03, 2024 12:52:00 am
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