The Newsletter 71 Summer 2015

School versus paddy: education and mobility in Manipur

Duncan McDuie-Ra

Imphal, the capital city of Manipur – a former kingdom turned federal state currently situated on India’s border with Myanmar – is experiencing a private education boom. The boom appears counterintuitive. Imphal is a militarized and often dysfunctional city, yet enormous swathes of land are now occupied by relatively expensive private schools that draw pupils from all over the city and from other parts of the state. Private coaching classes are run out of homes. Education agents all over the city offer admission to universities and colleges in South India, Thailand, and Eastern Europe. Education providers from outside Manipur, mostly from other parts of India, recruit students from Manipur – most noticeably at the large education fairs held in Imphal in the spring such as Edufest, Edu-options, and Edu-expo.